Mysteries Heal the World

Barbara's picture

Girl detectiveI love mysteries. One of the main reasons is to challenge myself to figure out the killer before it is revealed. Most times, I can. But is there another overriding factor?

I read an On Fiction article that got me thinking about the real reason. Keith Oatley talks about P. D. James (love her work) and her thoughts on why murder mysteries grab the reader. Oatley paraphrases P. D. James ideas with , "The detective story has its appeal, she [P. D. James] said in her talk, not because of a death, but because of a murder. Murder is the most horrific of crimes. It damages the fabric of our everyday world. The role of the detective is not to be clever, it's to heal the wound in society. To bring justice, to make the world whole again."

Wow! She is so right. The ending is the beginning -- everything is right again in the world. The world isn't fair but justice almost always brings a resolution and closure.

I will still challenged myself to nab the killer before the detective/protagonist does. But James' idea has opened my eyes to a new, enlightened, and profound concept. Friends have always said I like heavy, dark literature. It will blow their minds that I read mysteries to heal my and the world.

Do you read mysteries? Do you agree with James' premise?

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My reason

I read mysteries for pretty much the same reason I read most books. I enjoy them. I don't try to figure out who dunnit. That doesn't really matter to me, if I need to know, I'll just sneak a peak in the back.

I think murder mysteries, especially, though make death rational. In real life death is often surprising, the concept scares people. In mystery, there is a reason the character was killed, someone was responsible, action can be taken. It's not the unknowable that it can be in real life.


Barbara's picture

oh, I never sneak at peek -- I enjoy the journey of reading.


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