Friday, 8 March 2013

My Love of a Mystery

I didn’t always want to write mysteries.  My genre is mystery/suspense/thriller, but it really boils down to mystery.  I remember reading Chose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid.  Reading long passages wasn’t easy for me so the short bits that you got to choose how the story continued worked for me.  I picked the wrong path more often than not. 

The first mystery book I ever owned was a Hardy Boy’s mystery called The Crisscross Shadow by Franklin W. Dixon given to me by my grandmother for one of my birthdays.  It was a few more years before I ever read it, even though I had a jigsaw puzzle of the 70’s TV Hardy Boy’s, Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy.  I’m pretty sure it was my older sisters.  I didn’t really get into their stories until the newer version came out.  They were basic mysteries with a little bit about their lives.  They always gave you just enough to maybe figure out who-done-it before you got to the big reveal.

My friend’s Dad liked to buy Ellery Queen’s Mystery magazine and the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine so I got to read some really great short stories.  And when I was in high school I also did an English project on Canadian mystery writer Eric Wright.  Okay he’s British and immigrated to Canada so claimed him.  When I did my project he only had the Charlie Salter Mysteries which were good basic mysteries that had a Canadian cop as the hero.  A Canadian hero.  There aren’t that many of those out there in the literary world.  And still not too many have heard of him.

Finally I have to give it up to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  You have to show respect to a fictional character that hundreds of people mourned when he was killed in the stories.  The public outcry was enough that the author had to bring him back for more stories.  In 2002 I got the chance to go to England and was taken around London by my cousin.  The one place I wanted to go to was Sherlock Holmes apartments at 221B Baker St.  You walk in through the front door and step right into the stories.

What gets me going about mysteries is the game of it all.  You want to try and figure it out from the clues the main character finds.  This is why I hate those books that reveal a sudden clue that nobody knew and boom story is over.  As a reader you have an ending but you are so, so unsatisfied.  Nobody likes to be unsatisfied, but they do like to win.  Solving the crime before the hero is a win.  Not solving it before the hero but realising how simple it was and that you should have got it can be even better.  You feel like Watson after Holmes explains how he came to his deductions.

221B Baker St. (after seeing the picture I looked
closely and saw something in the fireplace)

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