Last updated: 23 march, 2010 - 18:16 GMT

Art and Culture

Queenan's Crime Scenes

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American author Joe Queenan's passion for crime fiction sees him heading to two very different locations to find out about the nature of the crime there and how it is reflected in the indigenous hard-boiled literature.

He hits the streets to meet police, former gang members, lawyers, civilians in order to discover their thoughts on the reality of crime in their territory, then speak with the crime writers who use that reality as the source and inspiration for their work.

In the first of this two-part series exploring how crime and crime fiction marry up, Joe visits Washington DC to discover the criminal side of the city that visitors taking pictures of the White House rarely see.

He meets crime writers like George Pelecanos who've used the city as a canvas for their novels as well as people involved in the real life story of crime in the American capital.

Here, he'll find out how far crime novels can provide fresh insights into real life criminality in particular locations, and how far those places dictate the content and style of the literature.

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