Why Write Murder Mysteries? Let Me Count The “Whys”

Why Write Murder Mysteries? Let Me Count The “Whys”
6:57 am , August 17, 2012 13

Reason Why #1:

After all these years and after all the many books I’ve read, I’ve never lost my love of murder mysteries. I love reading them and watching the stories unfold on the TV screen, in the movie theater, or on the stage. If I sit down to write a piece of fiction, it will be a mystery; if it is fiction for adults, it will be a murder mystery.

The very framework of predictability of is one of the great charms of the mystery. Whenever I am tired or anxious or want the world to disappear for a while, the murder mystery is my friend.

I know I’ll get caught up in the story; I know I’ll want to learn about and understand the characters who are going through a terrible and possibly life-threatening experience; I know I’ll start to piece things together, to figure out what happened, and try and guess what will happen next. Everything around me will start to fade away; I’ll soon be right there inside the story.

We all Need an Occasional Escape from Reality

It’s the perfect solution for blotting out reality when I don’t want to deal with the here and now, and it works in this way for all murder mystery fans. We’re all the same – we become engrossed in the story because we need to know. We have this overwhelming curiosity and we’re desperate to find out what happened, and why, and who, and how.

I have read many other stories – many other books – that have had the same mesmerizing effect on me. Other stories will catch and hold me in the same way, but I can never be sure they will … maybe this one won’t. What if it doesn’t? What if I find myself slipping away from the story and back into my life? Can’t have that. Not now, with a friend in the hospital, the rain beating at my window, the cheque still in the mail.

Reach for the murder mystery, even one I’ve read before. I’ve read so many, I won’t remember much. Just let me escape.

The Resolution Brings Relief

If it’s not a mystery, it could be a great story, but might turn out to be a slice of life where there is no resolution and the story simply comes to a halt. Maybe it will teach me something about human nature, historic events, or life in a different environment than mine; however, if I want to escape, it might not allow me to do that.

If there is no puzzle, maybe I won’t become involved; maybe I’ll only watch and listen as I read; and perhaps I’ll be left not knowing what happens to the characters I’ve come to know. Maybe it won’t really end – it will just stop.

The charm of the murder mystery is that it always ends with a resolution – we’ll find out what happened and why. In the windup of a murder mystery when the reader has to close the book and re-enter the world, there is a sense of relief. The hero or heroine has survived and has solved the crime. In the end, all has been revealed; our need to know has been satisfied. The story has ended.

As a reader, we return to the world and any problems we face, refreshed. For a while, we were in a world where puzzles are solved and justice triumphs. And maybe in the real world, it will happen for us and for the people we love. You never know; it could happen.

I write the stories I like to read when I want to escape.

13 Responses

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    • Maureen J. Grenier says:

      Would a move to Hawaii help you write? It might. You can write about your move and the cultural shock. I’ll read it if you do.

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  8. […] The story is fast-paced with twists and turns and the emphasis is on the plot and the development of the characters. The killer is rarely evil, but believes the only way out of a situation is murder. When apprehended, the killer is usually docile and explains the motives behind all the critical actions. The reader learns who and why, and all is revealed. […]

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