Molti studenti possono già conoscere il tradizionale formato di storie di fiction investigative prima di iniziare a leggere uno. Gli spettacoli televisivi popolari utilizzano sempre questo formato, dai detective leader con un codice morale rigoroso, ad una soluzione brillante che avvolge il caso. Molti appassionati del genere tracciano i suoi inizi al Edgar Allan Poe e il suo vero fiorito a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle e alla sua serie Sherlock Holmes. Il genere di fiction detective è caratterizzato da caratteri e temi specifici e segue un formato tradizionale.
Analyze the Detective's Code in detective fiction with this example from Indemnity Only
SECRETIVE / AVOIDS PUBLICITY
LOYALTY TO PARTNER AND PROFESSION
DEDICATION TO THE CLIENT
"'Homicide, Drucker speaking,' growled a voice. 'There's a dead body at Fifty-four sixty-two South Harper, apartment three,' I said. 'Who are you?' he snapped. 'Fifty-four sixty-two South Harper, apartment three,' I repeated. 'Got that?' I hung up."
ECONOMICAL WITH THE CLIENT'S MONEY
"Very well. I'm off the payroll. I'll send you the bill. But you're wrong about one thing, McGraw-- and you can tell Earl from me-- you can fire me, but you can't get rid of me."
COOPERATES TO SOME DEGREE WITH POLICE
"I'm a private investigator. At the moment, my client is a fourteen-year-old girl who saw her father murdered and is very frightened."
EXAMINES ALL POSSIBILITIES
"Not to worry. If you want to hire me, give me a dollar and I'll give you a receipt, and that will mean you've hired me."
"I shrugged and went to the bedroom and got the card out of my top drawer. I wiped it clean of prints with a scarf and brought it back to Mallory....Mallory grunted with satisfaction and put it in a plastic bag. I didn't tell him the only prints on it at this point were mine. Why spoil one of his few pleasures?"
"These are all assumptions. I have no proof at the moment that could be used in court, but I have the proof that comes from watching human relationships and actions. If I am correct in my assumptions, then I believe Anita McGraw's life is in serious danger."