I should start out by saying why I love margaritas, even though there's no real mystery involved. They are cool, icy, and refreshing, with a high citrus content, which we all know is essential to keeping scurvy at bay. It's a festive drink as well. Who could possibly be unhappy while quaffing a pitcher of frosty green deliciousness?
As for mysteries, I have loved them for so long, I'm not even sure which mystery I started with. I wasn't really a big fan of Nancy Drew, although I do remember reading them one summer to keep from going stir crazy while babysitting some neighbor kids. I'm sure the tykes got away with more than they should have while I was engrossed in unmasking one criminal mastermind after another. A while later I discovered Agatha Christie books, which seemed so elegant, and sophisticated, not to mention a world away from the crimes Nancy Drew and I had been solving together in my suburban backyard.
So mysteries can prevent boredom while you discover you're not cut out for parental activities, and they can transport you to a place more in keeping with your vision of your future life, even if it's in the past.
That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
A lot of people seem to love reading mysteries because they like solving a puzzle, or they want to see justice prevail. Those are definitely good reasons, and I would feel cheated if either one of those were missing when I finished a mystery. But that's still not the main reason I love them. I read mysteries because of what I learn about human nature.
Yep. I confess. I'm nosy. Mystery novels are one of the best ways to discover the real, ongoing mystery in life: why do people do what they do?
The sleuth interviews a ton of different people in an effort to solve the crime, and each person has secrets, as well as reasons for hanging on tightly to information they want to keep hidden. With each scene, the sleuth gathers bits of information, hoping to link it together to find the criminal. In the process, we learn just what people value the most in life, what hurts they are holding inside of them, and how far they are willing to go to protect something--or someone--important to them.
In the most entertaining mysteries, we also learn about the sleuth as they go about uncovering the criminal. A sleuth who has frailties or issues is often forced to confront them as they interrogate potential suspects with other frailties and issues.
That, to me, is the motherlode, million-dollar lottery epic win, because I am more interested in the whydunit than the whodunit. Our daily lives are filled with so much randomness, and uncertainty, not to mention unpredictability. Reading mysteries helps give us a frame of reference for human behavior that initially seems whacko and outrageous...until we see what motivated the person to act as they did.
So that's why I love mysteries. Now where are the margaritas? While you're pouring, tell me what you love about reading, and writing, mysteries.
Donna Cummings has worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorous contemporary and historical romances. Currently she resides in Massachusetts, although she fantasizes about spending the rest of her days in a tropical locale, consuming mojitos for breakfast and wearing flip flops year-round. She can usually be found at the local Starbucks, fine-tuning her caffeine levels while working on her latest manuscript, or on Twitter, talking about writing, and coffee. To find out more about Donna, check out her website http://www.allaboutthewriting.com/