Okay, yes, this title also happens to be the title of my new book, A Taste for Mystery: Two novellas, but I wanted to write about the mystery genre in general. See, I grew up heavily into reading. Agatha Christie never failed to enthrall me. I didn’t much care who her detectives were, but rather the way she set up circumstances and how it all came together in the end. I have to say though, as a child, I peaked at the ending a number of times. Very unsportsmanlike but I can still remember some of the devices Christie used till this day.
My mother was hooked on Sue Grafton. What an ingenious idea, using the alphabet to guarantee a darn long series. She is so popular my ninety-three year old grandmother liked to read Sue Grafton and when she could no longer read, I bought her the audio versions instead.
I was also a fan of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (still in business.) I didn’t have to peak at the end anymore. The stories were short and inventive. Perfect for my attention span. I also read all of Sherlock Holmes but have to admit the movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law were exquisitely done—the dialogue, the acting, the humor. The actual mystery took a back seat. It’s that way with books too at times. That’s when you know your characters have come to life and really thrive.
Patricia Cornwell is another hot mystery author. Her female Medical Examiner series caught on in a big way. I like Ms. Cornwell. She hails from my home state of Virginia. Her books have won many awards. She has a very hip looking picture on Goodreads as well. Brava.
There are many ways to write a mystery. One can rely on psychological suspense, tried and true detectives, surprise endings, or even add some romance to the mix, which is what I did in A Taste for Mystery. That little sizzle just makes it more interesting. The two novellas flow together in time and with the characters. I’d like to continue to take the main two characters out for a spin, but that depends of course on how many others find them interesting.
Life itself, is full of little mysteries. For example, why is spell-check demanding that I use the word enthrall with one “l” in this article? Dictionaries recognize two “l’s” as predominant, and that is being kind. Why have I grown an entire inch in height, decades and decades into my life? Why is the five minutes I absolutely must have to sleep extra the same five minutes that puts me into the rush hour zone of traffic to work? One could go mad trying to solve these things.
So we leave mystery to gorgeous men and women, entertainment, and quantum physics. And mystery novels.
Long live the question mark.