Modern-Day Murder Mystery Found in a Classic



Jill Wilson, 10th grade enveloped in a book.

Layla Hubler, Senior Staff

Want to read about literature’s favorite axe murderer? In this jarring philosophical tale, a former law student is driven to poverty and forced to abandon his studies. At a loss and utterly hopeless, he suffers physical and mental illnesses and battles with his radical beliefs. Confusion leads to crime when the young man decides to murder an unscrupulous pawnbroker due to his idea that some men are born greater than others and should have the right to eliminate any and all in their paths. After the cold-blooded murder, he comes to the realization that he did not have the right to kill and is suddenly plagued with guilt and wildly paranoid. Soon enough, the chief police begins suspecting him, and a game of cat-and-mouse commences. Will the murderer get away with his crime? Or will his guilt overtake him?

Reading this brief synopsis you might think, “Wow this sounds really interesting, I’d love to read that.” What this book actually is might come as a shock. Although you probably didn’t realize it, you just read the plot of “Crime and Punishment.”  Often thought of as intimidating or incomprehensible, this classic novel is avoided by many. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian author, is known for his thought-invoking and heavy books. He tackles many deep themes such as religion, poverty, self-suffering, and morality and ethics. 

From “True Crime” to “Criminal Minds,” many teenagers and young adults around the world are drawn to murder mysteries. “I think murder mystery books are entertaining, and I enjoy the suspense. It’s probably my favorite genre of book because I like watching the characters slowly catch on with me,” said Jill Wilson, 10th grade. 

Although “Crime and Punishment,” along with many other classic works, is seen as difficult to read and boring, this psychological thriller is not unlike the crime novels written today. If this is a genre you enjoy and you’re looking for a way to branch out and expand your reading horizons, I highly recommend challenging yourself with this timeless murder story. 

“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “Crime and Punishment.”