Caper story  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The caper story is a subgenre of crime fiction. The typical caper story involves one or more crimes (especially thefts, swindles, or occasionally kidnappings) perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader. The actions of police or detectives attempting to prevent or solve the crimes may also be chronicled, but are not the main focus of the story.

The caper story is distinguished from the straight crime story by elements of humor, adventure, or unusual cleverness or audacity. For instance, the Dortmunder stories of Donald E. Westlake are highly comic tales involving unusual thefts by a gang of offbeat characters — in different stories Dortmunder's gang steals the same gem several times, steals an entire branch bank, and kidnaps someone from an asylum by driving a stolen train onto the property. By contrast, the same author's Parker stories (published under the name Richard Stark) are grimly straightforward accounts of mundane crime — the criminal equivalent of the police procedural.

A caper may appear as a subplot in a larger work. For example, Tom Sawyer's plot to steal Jim out of slavery in the last part of Huckleberry Finn is a classic caper.

Contents

Examples of the caper story

Fiction

Film

Television

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Caper story" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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