Murder Mysteries and Why They Intrigue Me So Much

I couldn’t sleep last night, and so i did what i always do. What I consider the most logical thing to do.

turned on my phone and started texting? No.

Turned on my computer and began perusing social media and Buzzfeed? No.

Did the responsible thing and got ahead on homework? No.

I turned on the light by my bed and reached for a book. I use an electric blanket, and the combination of that and a book is warm and cozy and I’m only a little bit afraid sometimes that I’ll end up invisible as a result of using it (Things Not Seen, by Andrew Clements). The book I reached for was Death is a Lonely Business, by Ray Bradbury. I have a slight addiction to Bradbury novels.

I started flipping the pages and I couldn’t stop. it had been an hour by the time I finally switched off the lamp and forced my hands to close the book. And then i was left thinking. Why do I enjoy stories about murder and mysterious writing on walls, and cages full of people with drying seaweed left on the walls? these are disturbing things that I would not handle calmly as a spectator in real life. What about characters with old typewriters who are easily overexcited? Or book-lovers and bookworms?  I adore these stories. and i’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I would not handle them so well in real life. i can still remember, as i read, that i am cozily buried underneath three layers of blanket. My doors are all locked, with an alarm system. I am so far removed from the characters- i type up fantasy stories and musings and poetry on a Mac, not on anything like a typewriter. I have always wanted a typewriter. I am trying to finish a novel, but i am nowhere close to the last page.

Okay, the last one is quite a bit like the main character in Death is a Lonely Business, who has not worked on his novel in three months. or the detective, who hasn’t worked on his in five years.

I get hooked on these stories. the suspense feels so real, yet it is a novelty because i am so safe and secure. The writing is gorgeous, because Bradbury does that. I read murder mysteries to enjoy NOT being in those situations, but to wish that i could be there, and maybe- just a little bit- to pretend that i am there. to work through the clues and get to the answer before the characters.

But i know deep down that i’ll get to the answer exactly when the author wants me to. And I keep reading anyway.


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