‘An Inspector Calls’ is a detective fiction until it changes in the later stages of the novel in Act three where it suffers a twist. The novel is a murder inquiry about a young girl named Eva Smith who apparently drank some disinfectant and died. An inspector who was investigating the matter believed the girl committed suicide but does not know what caused the young girl to such a death. ‘An Inspector Calls’ is not entirely a detective fiction as towards the end there is a sense of supernatural cause in Act three where the storyline takes a twist, it is supernatural because the play ends at the beginning meaning the play never really ends.
What makes ‘An Inspector Calls’ a detective fiction is the way there are deaths and a mystical theme that makes the audience curious, however the play was not written to give people entertainment but to teach people a very important lesson of prejudice. The Birling family were prejudice towards Eva Smith because she was lower classed than the Birlings. In a detective fiction crime is naturally expected but until the later stages of the play no crime has actually been committed.
From this point the mystery re-enters the play. Eva Smith was highly involved with the Birlings politically were she had a job as a machinist in one of Arthur Birlings machine shops. Arthur Birling gave Eva the sack after she asked for a pay rise of twenty-five shillings instead of twenty-two. The novel loses its detective fiction when the audiences realises the rude inspector is a hoax and therefore believe the play is a mystery. Because the audience has found the truth the whole play has a twist.
Because of this twist play has now put the audience in suspense, as the audience knows so much about the family and how they have been involved with Eva Smith. The novel also loses its detective fiction because the inspector seems to know too much about the Birlings and their involvement with Eva Smith, this is where the audience begins to wonder why he knows so much before he asks questions. The mystery of the novel has entered because the audience are left in suspense wondering what if anything really happened to Eva Smith.
The audience feels this because the inspector was revealed as a hoax and this brings a whole new picture to the novel. As the novel goes on some characters receive a different attitude towards those who are less fortunate. Sheila and Eric begin to think about the things that they have done and quickly regret their actions. Sheila and Eric are the only ones who begin to change; the rest of the family couldn’t care less and only think about the riches which they endure. There are many conventions which are used in ‘An Inspector Calls’ to make the novel what it is.
Suspense is used to create tension towards the audience, for example when the inspector disappears during the phone call at the end of the novel the audience are left in suspense wondering what happened to the hoax inspector. Climax is used as the main source of tension because when the inspector is revealed as a hoax this is the climax of the novel creating tension towards the audience. The revelation of the inspector is the climax because there was so much built up and when the inspector is revealed it hits you and the novel fits into place and the audience begins to get the message.
As the novel goes on the audience see a different picture and what message is being sent to viewers that people should not be so prejudice. People from different backgrounds should not be treated different and should be treated the way a human would want to be treated.