a story in which there is a murder or other crime and a detective who tries to solve it. The best-known British writers of detective stories include Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Ruth Rendell. The older type of British detective story is often set in a large country house, and typically includes the discovery of a murder at the beginning, a small group of characters who are all suspected of having committed the murder, and a surprising solution at the end. In the US, detective stories more often involve the police or the adventures of a 'private eye' (= private detective), and are often more violent and realistic. Famous US writers of such stories include Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard. Detective stories are also known as 'detective fiction' or 'crime fiction' and informally as 'whodunnits' (or 'whodunits').