Why Write Mysteries? Three Simple Reasons and One Deeper Fascination

I like puzzles. Jig saw puzzles, cross word puzzles, word searches, find the hidden pictures, tetras, dots…the only puzzle I don’t like is Sudoku – mainly because I’m a word person not a number person. When the time finally came where I felt ready to try writing a book, I knew I’d need a story line interesting enough to keep the book from sagging and growing stale in the middle. A mystery seemed like the perfect answer.

In addition to puzzles, I like order. I like it when problems can be neatly wrapped up and stowed away with the label “solved” pasted prominently on top. And the final reason - I like it when the good guys win and the bad guys lose and get punished for causing so much trouble, heartache and misery.   I know this doesn’t always happen in real life, which is probably why I crave it in books.

The deeper fascination that draws me to mystery writing is trying to figure out why people make certain choices. When reading about a murder in fiction or non-fiction, my first question isn’t whodunit, but WHYdunit. Motive is key for me and I try to bring that forward in my writing. People do things that seem totally unreasonable to me – and I have to know why. What brought them to the point where crime seemed to be the only option?