The British Association for the Advancement of Science: Crime writer's line on science: TOM WILKIE and SUSAN WATTS in Loughborough

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The Independent Online
TELEVISION and the rise of graphic life stories about serial killers have transformed crime writing, P D James, the best-selling crime writer and former civil servant, told the meeting.

Speaking at the session on science and the law, Baroness James said that today's crime novels are increasingly realistic, with a strong emphasis on scientific accuracy. 'The modern crime writer cannot afford to ignore forensic science,' she said. 'One reason for this change is the increase in popularity in television crime series, which have become increasingly realistic - you only have to compare Dixon of Dock Green with Between the Lines. They now have police and scientific advisers.'

She added: 'The crime novel, like its readers, has changed fundamentally since the last war. Today the detective story is more realistic about murders, more violent, more sexually explicit, less sure of its affirmation of official law and order.'