Definition of detective story in US English:

detective story

(also detective novel)


  • A story whose plot revolves around the investigation and solving of a crime.

    • ‘The plot is a detective story solved by the intended victim working in collaboration with his would-be murderer.’
    • ‘It is a romance, a detective story and a coming-of-age story set within the world of higher mathematics - a very unlikely combination but a compelling one, too.’
    • ‘As Byatt's bestselling novel is a blend of period drama and a modern detective story.’
    • ‘I have called the spy novel the detective story's close cousin.’
    • ‘He advocates reading Oliver Twist as one would a detective story or crime thriller.’
    • ‘It is all these and much more: a historical novel, a detective story, and, implicitly, a philosophical manifesto.’
    • ‘It's a bittersweet detective story in which the surface mystery covers deeper questions about bonds of affection and faith.’
    • ‘The Small Boat Of Great Sorrows by Dan Fesperman combines a detective story, a spy thriller, and an emotional novel about the ravages of war into a single book.’
    • ‘I wrote short stories, satires and even a detective novel, to make money.’
    • ‘He had also always wanted to write a detective novel, a proper Raymond Chandler-style novel with a hard-boiled knight in slightly tarnished armour.’
    • ‘On the surface it is a detective story, a murder mystery which sets out to discover who the real Rebecca de Winter is, why she was so maligned and how she met her end.’
    • ‘A literary detective story is still a detective story and aficionados of the whodunit won't be disappointed.’
    • ‘It reads like the plot of a detective novel, but now the inside story of the infamous theft of the code-breaking Enigma machine is to be disclosed.’
    • ‘But the sort of crimes that I would use for a detective story plot tend to be much more serious than the ones I see in my everyday life.’
    • ‘Poe invented both the detective story and the horror story.’
    • ‘That it is equally successful as an espionage thriller and a detective story is proof that John Lawton is a potent storyteller.’
    • ‘These are fascinating hybrids of drama and fiction, notably The Ring and The Book, a philosophical detective story, historical novel and long poem rolled into one.’
    • ‘It can't decide whether it is a detective story, a love story or a historical epic.’
    • ‘As P.D. James notes in her foreword, the story combines elements of the thriller, the spy novel and the detective novel, as Smiley deciphers how the suicide could have been faked and then sets out to punish those responsible.’
    • ‘He is the father of much genre writing - the detective story, the ghost story, science fiction, the psychological thriller.’
    thriller, detective novel, murder story
    View synonyms


detective story