Okay mystery lovers, I have a treat for you today! Kassandra Lamb is here talking about why she loves mysteries! I’m just going to give her the floor:
Thanks so much for having me over to your place, Shannon. Can we take those cutie boys of yours down to the beach later?
But of course, you know what they say about all work and no play!
I used to be a much more eclectic reader in my youth. I read historical fiction, family sagas, romance, and mysteries. Somewhere in my late thirties, however, I found myself gravitating mostly toward mysteries. Today I may read the occasional romance or sci fi fantasy but my true love is a good whodunnit. Here are my 5 reasons why.
The Puzzle – I’ve always loved puzzles: jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, whodunnit puzzles. I think my love of puzzles is one of the things that attracted me to psychology as a profession.
I loved puzzling out what makes people think, feel and act the way they do. But being a psychotherapist isn’t easy, and as a specialist in trauma recovery, my days at the office were pretty intense. So I also love… The Escape – Fortunately my everyday life does not involve murder and mayhem. The events in mystery novels are totally different than my own experiences (and please God, they always will be!)
Clients and students would often recommend books or movies on psychological topics, assuming I would find these fascinating. I didn’t. They were too much like work! I rented “A Beautiful Mind” three times before I finally made myself watch it. (And was glad I did; great movie!)
Nope, give me a well-written mystery; they provide excellent escapism.
The Excitement – It’s not a good mystery unless at some point the protagonist is in danger. I love the vicarious adrenaline rush as the hero/heroine is being shot at, chased down an alley, struck on the head from behind or in some other way is fighting or running for his/her life.
The Characters – My very first blog post was on this topic. We don’t think about mysteries being about character development, but the good ones are. It has even been said that mysteries aren’t really about the mystery itself as much as they are about how the characters deal with the mystery!
My favorites are books in which ordinary people like you and me are challenged to deal with extraordinary events. I like to live vicariously through their experiences and pretend that I would rise to the challenge as well as they do.
And I love series because then I can revisit my old friends, and see how they are evolving over time (Come on, Shannon, I’m dying to know what happens next in your pet psychic’s life!)
The Competition – This one may have you scratching your head. Competition? Yes there is a competition, between the reader and the author. Can you, the reader, figure out whodunnit or will the author fool you until the very end?
If the author is playing fair, s/he drops a few crumbs along the way, while also throwing some red herrings in the reader’s path. It isn’t even totally about whether or not you figure it out. It’s also about how sure you are. If you think it was Colonel Mustard, but it could be Miss Scarlett, or maybe Professor Plum, then you will have a satisfying end experience either way. If the colonel is truly the dastardly devil, you think Aha! I knew it! And you feel really, really smart!
But if it’s the little miss or the good professor, you’re a bit surprised but still satisfied, because you kinda suspected them once or twice. But then again, sometimes it’s someone you never saw coming, but looking back, you realize it all makes sense. That last great twist at the end can be even more satisfying!
I love that Aha! moment, no matter who the culprit turns out to be. And then I sigh a satisfied sigh, feel a little sorry that the adventure is over… and pick up the next whodunnit to dig in!
So, tell us… what’s your favorite genre to read and why?
And now Kass is writing her own mystery series. Book 5 was just released last week. Check it out!
When a former client reaches out to psychotherapist Kate Huntington and reveals a foreign diplomat’s dark secret, then dies of ‘natural causes’ just days later, Kate isn’t sure what to think. Was the man delusional or is she now privy to dangerous information?
Soon she discovers her client was totally sane… and he was murdered. Someone is now trying to eliminate her, and anyone and everyone she might have told. Forced into hiding, she and her husband, Skip, along with the operatives of his private investigating agency, struggle to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. Skip and his P.I. partner are good investigators, but this time they may be in over their heads… and they could all end up drowning in a sea of international intrigue.
(This book is part of a series but is designed to work quite well as a stand-alone.)