And yet, I’m a totally nonviolent, even squeamish person. I don’t like killing bugs, unless they are large and ugly and have invaded my home. I don’t even look when I have a blood draw at the doctor’s office. For the record, I don’t like looking at other people’s blood either. I’ve been known to irritate friends by walking out of particularly violent movies. Yes, I am a delicate little flower.
So what gives? Why am I perpetually reading a mystery? A murder mystery, at that. Well, one reason is I tend to read cozy or cozy-style mysteries. To me, that means all the violence and even the explicit sex, for that matter, are off-screen. These things happen; we know they happen, but we don’t see or read about it in detail. So that helps.
But still, delicate flower that I am (not really), why all the bodies? Why all the victims? What is it that is so satisfying about this genre?
Believe it or not, despite all the violence—or implied violence—the mystery novel presents a more perfect world. Yes, there is a murder. Yes, there is conflict—because without a healthy dose of conflict the book would be unbearably boring. But what all mystery books also have is resolution.
Not only does the bad guy or gal get caught, as readers we get to find out why the perp felt compelled—and justified—to commit such a heinous act. Justice is served, on a silver platter. Peace reigns. And all is right with the world. Well, that might be overplaying it a bit, but you get the idea. The bad guy gets his, and it just feels right.
Not only that, but in a particularly good series, as a reader, you get to know the characters, and each succeeding novel is a chance to visit and see the main characters grow and change. Sometimes there is a budding romance. Sometimes, there is a love triangle. Sometimes, in my humble opinion, a love triangle persists through way, way too many novels in the series. (But that is the subject for another blog post.) The point is that it’s fun to return to the world the author has created and enjoy the setting and the characters, once again, without having to re-read the same novel over and over. It’s fun and addictive, which explains the popularity of mystery series. (It also explains all the books in my collection. The photo is but a tiny sampling that obviously does not include my Nook and Kindle titles and more.)
So here I am, a perfectly normal person. Okay, a relatively normal person; just ask my relatives, and I can’t wait to get back to my current read. Among my currently favorite mystery authors are: Denise Swanson, Diane Mott Davidson, Earlene Fowler, Jana DeLeon, Laura Levine, Duncan Whitehead, Amy Metz, L.L. Bartlett, Joanne Fluke, Leslie Meier, Alan Bradley, Deb Baker, Louise Penny… and so many more. I told you there were a lot of bodies!