I think I might be watching too much Criminal Minds as I think it is influencing my reading, or else I’m only beginning to rethink my reading of mysteries.
In many episodes of the show, the killer is revealed right from the start and then the rest of the show is how the team catches him before he kills again, with the pieces of the puzzle falling into place until he is caught. I found this to be true with the latest Dr. Tony Hill/Carol Jordan mystery I read, The Last Temptation, by Val McDermid with McDermid telling us who the killer is from the start and then how Hill and Jordan go about capturing him. Along the way is another story about Jordan, but the heart of the mystery is about them trying to capture a serial killer.
Yawn! I already know who the killer is.
For this reason, I’m thinking about getting back to the Original Gangster (so to speak) of mysteries: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, just to get grounded and remember why I love mysteries, for the deduction — and not knowing from the start who the killer is, at least not always. It’s also why I think I like Scandinavian murder mysteries, because they aren’t as simple as getting from point A to point B, but throw in point C and D along the way. Lately I’ve been enjoying the mysteries of Karin Fossum and her Inspector Konrad Sejer. She doesn’t give it to you all neatly tied up before the story begins.
I also recently read Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, but again I think I’m too influenced by Criminal Minds as I figured out the ending too soon and then it was just a matter of getting there, no mystery. It wasn’t that the book wasn’t well written; it was. I guess I’m just beginning to rethink why I’m reading mysteries: what is the heart of the mystery? Is it knowing who the killer is and how the person is caught? Or is it trying to figure out who the killer is?
Of course, let’s be honest, I still keep watching Criminal Minds too, and I’m sure I’ll pick up the next Tony Hill/Carol Jordan book, The Torment of Others, at the library too…after some getting back to basics and remembering why I love mysteries. Or at least why I originally loved them.
So do you read mysteries? Why do you read them? Whether you read mysteries or not, what have you been reading this week? For those of you who participated in Dewey’s 24 hour readathon yesterday, what did you read?