In the wake of a recent boom in South African crime fiction, and recurrent claims that postapartheid crime novels dismantle the old boundaries between so-called “highbrow” and “lowbrow” literature, this thesis investigates the problematic relationship between crime fiction and the literary canon in Afrikaans. It does so by paying specific attention to the novels of Deon Meyer, a popular and widely translated contemporary Afrikaans crime fiction writer, and the canonisation processes affecting his status within the Afrikaans literary system. First, definitions of “the literary canon” and the accompanying mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion implicit in canon formation are discussed theoretically. Then, a number of subsystems are scrutinised (the publishing industry, media practices, translation, scholarship and literary history, literary prizes) in order to gauge Meyer’s relative position within the Afrikaans literary system. Because he is often categorised as a writer of “popular fiction”, problems related to the field of popular fiction are also thrashed out in a separate chapter. A brief historical overview of the development of crime fiction is then offered, as well as a basic typology with definitions of the most prominent crime fiction subgenres evident in Meyer’s work. Issues with genre classification and terminology are also raised. Deon Meyer’s novels are subsequently analysed as examples of what John Cawelti (1976) calls “formula literature” in an attempt to ascertain whether the novels are merely generic expressions of the crime fiction “formulae”, or rather texts that undermine conventional genre expectations. In doing so, the thesis highlights the significant ways in which Deon Meyer’s crime fiction collapses any simplistic distinction between the “popular” and the “literary”, thereby challenging traditional definitions of the literary canon.