Daily Archives: August 12, 2014

Mad Mystery

Dear Everyone,

Happy Tuesday. Today I hope I get in some real clothes that can fit over my belly. I also hope that I write something. And I hope to make something for dinner other than quesadillas.

The other day I checked out a mystery at the library that SEVERAL people had recommended. I read it. Fast. The premise was intriguing from the start–an old unsolved mystery that comes back up because a new murder has occurred in the same spot. The lure of TWO murder mysteries, one old and storied, one new and present, was a very big draw for me. I don’t usually read a lot of mysteries but I wanted something that would pull me in and keep me reading (I’ve been putting down a lot of books lately).

Well, I finished it and . . . the author only solved one of the mysteries. The new one. Not the old, most compelling one. In fact, throughout the entire novel, she had the MC remember more and more details about the old mystery, dangling these scenes and these memories seemingly moving toward some kind of answer and then . . . NOTHING.

I was so frustrated.

I really was.

And I am all for not tying things up in a bow but in a murder mystery isn’t there some kind of rule that you must umm, solve the mystery? Isn’t that part of the contract with the reader? This was a more literary adult mystery so maybe you can break that rule but I have to say, I was left unsatisfied. And bugged.

So you mystery writers, what do you think? Do you have to solve the mystery? When can you break the rules? How forgiving do you expect your reader to be? Do you have examples of other mysteries that do this and it didn’t make you mad? The writing was good, btw. And she did answer the one mystery but not the one that was far more intriguing and pretty much unsolvable (which is what made it so frustrating that she didn’t solve it! Like I can write a crazy murder premise with weird sounds and blood and scratch marks and all kinds of spooky stuff if I don’t have to actually say why all those things are happening).

Sometimes I think I’d like to write a mystery, a really good one but I recognize how very very difficult it is.

That’s all for today! Hope you get some good quesadillas for dinner


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