It started with Nate the Great. Then I moved on to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Now, I’ve got Richard Castle, Flavia de Luce, Goldy Shulz, and Stephanie Plum. I’ve always been attracted to mysteries. A good basic whodunit that I can devour in just a couple of sittings never fails to leave me deeply satisfied. Recently, I’ve been asking myself what exactly is it that I love about mysteries. Why is it I’d rather read a mystery than any other genre out there? While pondering this question, I’ve come up with a little list that may help explain my desire to be a fictional detective.
- The classic problem solving skills required.
I am a very logical person. So, it is very satisfying for me to follow the clues and try to solve the crime right along with whatever detective is on the case. Sometimes I can pick up on the right clues immediately, and sometimes I get caught up in the red herrings. It’s trying to figure out the right way to go that makes mysteries so great.
- The thrill of a dangerous situation without actually being in a dangerous situation.
Reading mysteries allow me to face down guns, knives, car chases, and poisonings, all from the comfort of my warm cozy bed. Never have I been so brave as I am when I’m facing down a crazy murder with Nancy Drew or picking up a skip with Stephanie Plum.
- The predictable unpredictability.
With a mystery series, there is typically a formula to them. I’ve read enough to have figured out the formula, which is why it is so thrilling when suddenly, the book strays from the formula, and I’m thrown into some crazy new track that keeps me reading and reading.
- The characters.
With a long term mystery series, I learn about the main characters and become very comfortable with them. I’ve learned about them, and they’ve become my friends. I feel connected to them, and I care about them. I want them to succeed in solving the crimes they are up against, and I feel so sorry for them when they accuse the wrong person of committing some crime, or they narrowly escape being run off a road or a being shot by a phantom gunman.
- The ending.
Mysteries are very dependable. There is always a happy ending. Well, maybe not happy exactly, but the loose end is always tied and the story ends with more answers than questions. While I do enjoy books with open endings, I do love mysteries where, when I close the book, I know the story is finished.
Do you read mysteries? Why do you love them? Any must reads?