The overlapping territory between stories with a sci-fi or paranormal element and crime fiction is one that interests me a good deal. I mentioned a while back the vampiric elements that I introduced into the seventh Harry Devlin novel, First Cut is the Deepest – although the murder mystery there had a solution based entirely in the rational world.
But sometimes stories about murder wander away from the established science and into realms of speculative fiction. An example is ‘Bad Blood’, an episode from ‘The X Files’ that I’ve just watched. It’s a story set mainly in a tiny community called Chaney, somewhere in Texas. Half a dozen cattle have been killed and exsanguinated, and when murder is done, Mulder and Scully are called in. But is there a vampire at work, or do the crimes have a different explanation?
Matters are complicated by the fact that we know from the start that Mulder has killed a young man, whom he thought was a vampire, and the events leading up to this are seen first through Scully’s eyes and then through Mulder’s. After the flashbacks, the story moves forward, and it becomes apparent that all in Chaney is not as it seems.
There are several elements in this story that have links with crime fiction – there are some neat clues, and one part of the plot reminded me of a book by Val McDermid. This is not, in the end, so much a crime story as an exercise in fantasy fiction. But it’s a pretty good story, cleverly told.