Huffington Post book blogger Jason Pinter has a column about "The State of the Crime Novel." It's a fairly Yankocentric appraisal of current crime writing by a series of top US reviewers. It includes this from veteran mystery columnist Oline H. Cogdill: "One of the main missions of crime novels is to paint a timely portrait of the issues in our times. This doesn't mean these novels have to hit you over the head with a message or make a soapbox with their plots. The more subtle, the better. Crime novels are the social novels of today." I agree with that -- I've certainly tried to have my Palestinian detective novels function as an entertaining way to examine the society of the West Bank and Gaza -- though I don't think it's a necessary condition for a crime novel to be great. It's certainly true that by their nature crime novels are more likely to travel beyond the hallowed halls of the creative writing faculty in their search for material than so-called "literary" fiction. What do you think?