And that's where we come to why I read murder mystery fiction; simply put, I love it.
Murder mysteries, how I love thee... let me count the ways:
- A crime is committed. I've always been interested in crime, and watch cold case mysteries on TV, Court TV and even some true crime books. For an historical example of a true crime book I've read twice and now am looking for to read again, look up 'The Maul and the Pear Tree' by P.D. James. It's a fascinating tale of murder in Regency England.
- Tight plotting, with a clear storyline. I've read the occasional 'literary' fiction novel (some for school, like The French Lieutenant's Woman) and can't get into non-linear, unclear plotting.
- Interesting settings. Murder mysteries have exposed me to a version of Arkansas, the Pacific Northwest, the sunny beaches of Florida, village life in England, and many more places, all from my armchair!
- Fascinating characters. Who can read about Joan Hess's inimitible Hizzoner, Jim Bob Buchanon and the whole Buchanon clan and not howl with laughter? From there I go to Diane Mott Davidson's frazzled caterer Goldy Schulz... they become like family members you get updates on via the yearly newsletter!
- A puzzle, solved. I want to know. That's what it comes down to. I want to know not only whodunnit, but whydunnit? And Howdunnit? I'm snoopy by nature, and murder mysteries satisfy some of that snoopiness.
- They take me away... truly. I go somewhere else when I'm engrossed in a good mystery novel. It's a lovely feeling, refreshing when I come out of my stupor; it's kind of like coming home from a mini-vacation.
- Justice done. I rage at the inability of our human system, inevitably flawed, to truly find justice in the horrendous world of real-life murder. In real life, cases get caught up in the court system for years to come, but on the pages of a mystery you know who did it by the end, and they (usually) get their just desserts.
(Update: I am misusing the phrase 'just desserts', and I rarely do abuse the English language... anymore. For an explanation of why the phrase is actually 'just deserts', (single 's', not double) go here: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-just-deserts-mean.htm I will take credit for my second-thinking this morning, wondering if I was using the phrase right... and I found out I was wrong!!)
Anyhoo.... why did I add this recipe? Reason number 8 on my list, tho' I didn't put it down is... I love culinary mysteries, ones that have recipes, so I thought I'd do a blog-with-a-recipe!! I do copy them out, (recipes in mysteries) and I do use them. (BTW, does anyone know why my list shows up as a numbered list in the edit mode, but won't post that way??)
That's my short list. I could go into it at length, but I'm interested in all of YOU! Soooo... chime in, all you mystery lovers. Why do YOU love to read mysteries??