The answer to this question is yes. ‘Can crime fiction be taken seriously?’ concludes that there are crime novelists whose work engages with profound social, moral, and existential issues, and crime writing can claim among its practitioners some of the finest literary stylists. But this question raises another. Even if some crime fiction demands our respect, why is it as a whole still treated as a sub-species of mainstream literature? Few would deny that crime writing is different from other forms of fiction yet does its distinctness automatically qualify it as culturally and aesthetically inferior?