Veel studenten zijn al bekend met het traditionele formaat van detective fiction verhalen voordat ze beginnen met het lezen van een. Populaire tv-programma's maken gebruik van dit formaat altijd, van de hoofddetectieven met een strikte morele code, tot een briljante oplossing die de zaak opslaat. Veel enthousiasten van het genre traceren zijn oorsprong terug naar Edgar Allan Poe, en zijn waar bloeit naar Sir Arthur Conan Doyle en zijn Sherlock Holmes-serie. Het detectiefictie genre wordt gekenmerkt door specifieke karakters en thema's, en volgt een traditioneel formaat.
Detective novels | Sam Spade as Detective in The Maltese Falcon | Characteristics of Detective Fiction
ASKED TO RESTORE SOMETHING
MODERN MYTHOLOGICAL HERO
PRIVATE EYE: ALL-SEEING
DEFEATS WITH LANGUAGE
"She's five years younger than I--only seventeen-- and we didn't have the same friends. I don't suppose we've ever been as close as sisters should be. Mama and Papa are in Europe. It would kill them. I've got to get her back before they come home."
Loyalty to Truth: "Listen. When a man's partner is killed, he's supposed to do something about it. It doesn't make any difference what you thought of him. He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it."
"We didn't exactly believe your story. We believed your two hundred dollars... I mean that you paid us more than if you'd been telling the truth, and enough more to make it right."
"That's the trick, from my side, to make my play strong enough that it ties you up, but yet not make you made enough to bump me off against your better judgment."
PHYSICAL STRENGTH, PROWESS
He stopped smiling. His upper lip, on the left side, twitched over his eyetooth. His eyes became narrow and sultry. His voice came out deep as the lieutenant's.
Sarcasm: "Get away. Put your paw on me and I'm going to make you use the gun. Ask your boss if he wants me shot up before we talk."
Spade's elbow went on past the astonished dark face and straightened when Spade's hand struck down on the pistol. Cairo let the pistol go the instant that Spade's fingers touched it. The pistol was small in Spade's hand.