Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why Mysteries?

Why do we like puzzles and mysteries? Are we all police wannabes? Do we have a secret fantasy of being Sam Spade, Tempe Crabtree or Philip Marlowe? Have we watched every episode of Columbo? There is an innate need to know that makes us want to know whodunit.

And some of our favorite writers can make us work for it, creating a complex tale that taxes our investigative abilities! That's part of the joy of reading a mystery, though, isn't it? Do we fall for the red herrings sprinkled through the story? Or do we toss away a vital clue, served up to us on a silver platter, because we think it's a ruse to throw us off the scent? Do we figure it out, just after the writer gives us the answer? That's the goal of the mystery writer -- to hold the reader's interest, keep him or her thinking and trying to figure it out right to the climax of the reveal of the killer.

It's fun to abandon discrepant awareness and drift into the 1930s world of Hercule Poirot. Or to explore the newest forensics techniques for lifting fingerprints, tracking DNA or crime scene investigation. Is your preferred story a traditional cozy mystery, a modern, high-tech story, or even a futuristic detective with access to technology today's investigators can only dream of having?

Another reason we like mysteries? The bad guy always gets caught -- maybe he or she can't be prosecuted, but our detective figures out what s/he did and how it was done. And that's a very satisfying feeling!

So, grab a mystery by your favorite author and enjoy the journey!

Libby McKinmer
Romance with an edge
Also on Facebook, Twitter & Good Reads


Morgan Mandel said...

I like mysteries that make me think, but not too much.

I enjoy the psychological ones the most, where the suspense builds and the reader can focus on the main character's emotions.

It's also nice when some humor is sprinkled in to relieve the tension.

Morgan Mandel

Libby McKinmer said...

I know what you mean, Morgan. Even in a really suspenseful story, a bit of humor gives you a tiny break...and sometimes makes the tension ramp up even more when the chuckle ends!


Libby McKinmer
Romance with an edge
Also on Facebook, Twitter & Good Reads

Susan Elizabeth said...

I was determined to read all of the Agatha Christie novels one summer. After about 10, I realized that they were all starting to bleed together in my memory. Still love "Murder on the Orient Express" and "The Murder of Roger Akroyd" though.

When it comes to writing mysteries, I totally stomp all over the write-what-you-know rule. Murderers and police officers have definitely not had a presence in my life thus far!

Earl Staggs said...

Libby, I love trying to figure out whodunnit and that's why I read and watch Mystery stories. I also love seeing bad guys get caught and punished, which doesn't always happen in real life.