Thrillers and detective stories are among the oldest that exist. That is why they are so popular, always have been and probably always will be.
Thrillers are like ruined castles, the romantic remains of ancient epic in the modern world. They are stories of men (and women) up against fate and themselves. Crammed with violent and dangerous incident, unexpected shifts of fortune. Sometimes violent in their emotional heights and depths - but often with quieter, lyrical moments too.
Crammed with tension, hanging on tenterhooks, nothing is certain in the world of thrillers except that the hero will win and get the girl eventually. Well, usually.
If Homer’s Iliad is our first great thriller, his Odyssey is our first great detective story. However many characters and incidents may be crammed into it, a detective story is always at bottom one man’s determination to make sense of his world, unravel its mysteries and search out its hidden truths. Traps will be laid for him, efforts made to stop or lead him astray - if possible and necessary, kill him. There will probably also be betrayals.
The detective’s quest is that of the exceptional individual: the one who will not give up, who will succeed in the end basically because he or she has brains and character to match courage, skill and self-belief. He or she is a Sherlock Holmes. A Miss Marple. A Philip Marlowe. A James Bond....