Mystery’s Mystery

Father Brown, stained glass (Photo credit: bfistermn)

Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Father Brown…These are not the men I’d first approach at a cocktail party. At least that’s what I used to think.

And yet, I love a story that begins with chilling horror, often the loss of human life, followed by a clue chase in the morbid, tragic, or haunting variety, ending with an accusation guilt.

Why? I ask myself, does this have such a strong appeal?

Hercule Poirot
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot (Photo credit: elena-lu)

As a little girl, I watched Masterpiece Theater with my family and witnessed beautiful worlds torn asunder by theft, death, and disappearances. My favorite sleuth was Hercule Poirot, the man both charming and wickedly smart.

Chinatown, London. Benedict Cumberbatch during...
Benedict Cumberbatch during filming of Sherlock (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

I my high school reading, I fell in love with Father Brown, the humble little priest who solves the crime and offers a profound, gentle insight into the state of the criminal’s soul.

A few months ago, I caught my breath watching Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’s TV remake of Sherlock Holmes in modern London with thrilling mysteries solved by a socially awkward genius in brilliant and sharp humor. (I wrote a two-part post on the humanity of Sherlock’s character)

So why does a nice girl like me have an addiction to bloody, frightening, sometimes heartbreaking mysteries?

Because I want to untangle the threads. I want to unmask the evil from its hiding place. The hunt sends shivers and adrenaline through my nerves, and this creates the addiction.

A mystery is a puzzle begging to be solved, a cry from deep in the victim’s blood that seeks justice. The code lies all too often in the details of the ordinary.

I love mysteries because they whisper that insight floats at my fingertips, waiting to unlock, if I will only tilt my head and see them there.

Are you a mystery fan? What detective is your favorite? Have you ever tried to write a mystery?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I used to watch nothing but mysteries on TV and all sorts of Law and Order episodes because, like you, I loved to see how things unraveled. I loved to play detective myself and see if I could crack the code and find the killer. I envisioned myself as a profiler, figuring out the motivations and intentions of all the characters. And the mystery show that got me into it from the beginning? Murder, She Wrote. hehe. Cheesy, but true!
    That, and I fell in love with the play, “The Mouse Trap”.
    One of these days I’m going to host a murder mystery dinner at my house to bring the excitement, acting and thrill of a mystery right into my house (without there ACTUALLY being any crime scene tape needed….would like to avoid that, please!)

    1. I watched Murder She Wrote, too! And your dinner party sounds wonderful. Yes, all the excitement, and none of the risk!

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