Why I Love to Read Mysteries

The first movie I saw was Anatomy of a Murder. I was young and didn’t really understand it, but I knew I didn’t know how it would turn out until the end. I liked that uncertainty.

How things will unfold and who will do what to whom is every story’s story line. Doesn’t matter if it is a soap opera or the latest political headline. I have a like/not like relationship with that uncertainty. On the one hand it keeps me involved. On the other it can be nerve-wracking. Especially when it is your life that is experiencing the uncertainty.

Which is why I like mysteries. I like reading about other people’s adventures that don’t put my own livelihood at risk. While I can get worked up about how a basketball game is going to turn out or who will win the election, I don’t get quite so emotionally invested in how many bad things the bad guy does cause I know in the end he will be defeated. Whoever he or she is.

There is one particular thing about mystery books that I enjoy more than most other books. Many of the books become series. Authors write multiple books about the same characters. Whereas James Bond in the original books never aged, now you find the characters getting older with each book and facing ongoing life circumstances. You get to age with the central characters. In one of my favorite series the protagonist starts out living in his parent’s basement and then eventually moves out to build his own family.

Each book in a series has a beginning, middle and a resolution that renders our hero capable of starring in another book. The mystery of whodunit is ever-present as the characters make their way through life. Replete with a lot of self-reflection and observations on the human condition, the best mysteries have us root for the hero and identify with their frailties and their moments of resolve. It is comforting to know that in the end everything will be all right.

#Mysteries #AnatomyofaMurder #Reading

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