Crime fiction is a catch-all term that encompasses short stories and novels involving crimes (frequently murders), puzzles, and/or adventures that almost always come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion; it is, however, a very broad term that covers many narrower genres or sub-genres such as "mystery stories", "detective stories", "police procedurals", "suspense stories", "spy stories", "private eye stories", and "thrillers". There can be, moreover, broad overlap between these sub-categories within the same story. As with "science fiction", no single term has ever been coined to cover all these kinds of fiction that can satisfy the millions of aficionados of each type.
Crime fiction is a very popular genre among readers of contemporary literature. There is also a large and rapidly growing critical literature dealing with this category. A number of books and important critical studies published in the decade 2010-2020 are listed in the bibliography sub-page of this article.