Sometimes literature is a question of who gets there first. The thought of W. C. Fields reading Trollope as a child explains a great deal about the evolution of American comedy, which ends in the death of Buddy Hackett and, more recently, Professor Irwin Corey.
One thing leads to another in a good murder mystery, as unnaturally though as the leaves fall from the tree, and pretty soon as leaves keep falling you have as good a writer as James M. Cain or Jim Thompson.
In the old days folks read books. Words filled up the time that wasn't filled up with work. On Saturday night they'd go downtown to a picture show and really let their hair down, seeing everything up there on the silver screen they'd read about in the book they'd just read. One of these folks might have been named Hope Read, the picture perfect name for a reader.