Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's a Crime

John McFetridge

It seems crime fiction is either a murder mystery or a hiest.

But there are lots of crimes. Sometimes I go to this site: to keep up on the current black market. I’m always amazed what’s moving up and down this chart – gives whole new meaning to being number five with a bullet (ha, sorry about that).

But really, counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs are number three, ahead of cocaine and opium and heroin and meth and everything except marijuana (oooh, imagine if that was taxed and sold like alcohol)? Even black market prescription drugs are ahead of all the other drugs.

Animal and wildlife smuggling at $20 billion? Illegal fishing at $16.5 billion?
Fifteen billion dollars in illegal logging? There’s got to be a crime novel in renegade loggers. How do you smuggle logs? Do you hide them in giant bongs?

And the patriot in me is proud to see little Canada #5 in black market countries, ahead of the UK, Mexico, Spain, Germany – ahead of Russia.

We’re not even going to be #5 at the winter Olympics in Vancouver next week.

Of course, as long as we win gold in hockey we don’t really care about anything else. And the Olympics haven’t been fun since they stopped allowing guys like Eddie the Eagle to compete.

Of course the last winter Olympics in Canada may be mostly famous for the Jamaican bobsled team and the movie Cool Runnings. A couple of Olympics later in Lillehammer, Norway the Jamaican bobsled team finished ahead of the United States, Russia, France and Italy (but still, Jamaica is nowhere to be seen on the black market list).

More recently the Jamaican bobsled team took a bit of a hit when one the best brakemen in the world, Lascelles Brown, was poached by Canada where he has won an Olympic silver medal and a Gold at the World Championships.

Would that be too weird for fiction, Canada poaching a bobsledder from Jamaica? Is that weirder than renegade loggers?

So, while I'm watching the Olympics next week, what kind of crimes would you like to see more of in crime novels?

What's the strangest crime you've ever put into a story or a novel?


Dana King said...

This is why I used to enjoy the old TV show Banacek, with George Peppard. He played an insurance investigator, so there was rarely, if ever, a murder. He solved thrfts. Large, Penn and Teller-esque thefts, but at least they were a different kind of investigation.

THE MALTESE FALCON is like that, in its way. No one really cares who killed Archer; they want the dingus.

Bryon Quertermous said...

Read Scott Wolven to understand the true horror of illegal logging and criminal loggers.

I tend to either like over the top crimes for over the top reasons or really small crimes that go horribly wrong. There was a special the other night on medical tourism and people who go to other countries for cheaper medical treatment or drugs and I've long thought that was ripe for the taking.

John McFetridge said...

Yeah, Dana, I liked BANACEK, too. Maybe there'll be a movie version of that like the A-TEAM.

And that is a good idea, Bryon. According to Havoscope, "organ traffiscking" ranks just below nuclear smuggling and just above counterfeit purses.

And something called "Human Tissue and Body Parts," ranks #50.

Declan Burke said...

How about the Jamaicans take their revenge for the bob-sled farrago, and illegally log the shit out of Canada? As in, reggaenade loggers ...

Sorry. I'll get my cloak.

Jay Stringer said...

I remember the Guthrie telling me that 1 out of every 3 ciggies in Britain is illegal. What a trade that is!

Steve Weddle said...

Nice find. That's a great site.