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"The Mystery Novel..." - Editorial

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The Mystery Novel: Our Fascination with Mysteries, Detectives, and Crimes

If you're reading this, then there's more than a good chance that mystery novels interest you. To those of you who read mystery stories and novels faithfully, does your heart thrash against your chest as the culprit is about to be revealed? Maybe you think you already know who did it. Does the identity of the culprit surprise you? Or were you suspicions confirmed all along?

Writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Raymond Chandler are well-known for mastering the art of the mystery novel. But what makes these writers and their stories so successful? And why do we enjoy the thrill of solving a crime, or at least watching others solve them?

Most of us aren't detectives. Of course, we can retrace our steps to find our misplaced phones or lost keys, but we don't attempt to solve any heinous or difficult crimes on a daily basis. By reading a mystery novel, however, we can vicariously be a sleuth. We follow the detective as he or she probes a crime, questions suspects, and gathers evidence. We might also try to piece the puzzle together by employing the method of the detective. Whether we solve the crime on our own or not, we enjoy watching events unfold and the criminal revealed and caught (hopefully). We like closure, which is something that isn't always possible in real life. We expect the detective to tie up the loose ends, and we hope that justice prevails.

Read the full article at The Artifice.com >