It’s a Mystery!
It’s been said that everybody loves a mystery. But why?
“It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.” – Proverbs 25:2
The desire to understand, to search out the truth, to solve the problem is a part of the human condition. Scientists look to the heavens to understand the formation of the universe. Biologists want to know the building blocks of life. Psychiatrists pry into the human psyche to find out what makes us tick.
All of these fields are concerned with investigating the unknown, the mysterious. If we can figure it out, we can deal with it. Many eminent figures have commented on the power of mystery.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein, “The World as I See It”
And then there are the writers…
The mystery novel is the simplest form of problem-solving. There’s usually one clear problem (the murder) and one solution (who did it). Mystery novels are characterized by strong characters, lots of suspects, plot twists, and surprise endings. Along the way we meet fascinating folks and eventually discover the how and why as well as the who.
In a mystery novel, the author drops clues and red herrings along the way while we get a chance to match our wits with the head sleuth. And oh what fun the author can have in creating those memorable sleuths. From the meticulous Poirot to the devout Father Brown to the down-to-earth Jessica Fletcher, we meet and love the personalities who figure it all out.
My favorite mystery? I’m going to go with “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, possibly the most popular mystery of all time. It was made into a very entertaining movie in 1945. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, have a go and see if you can find the killer.
So what’s your favorite mystery? Book or movie, let us know what you think.
“Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt. Nothing’s so hard but search will find it out.” – Robert Herrick
OOOOOOOHHHH…I love Dorothy L. Sayers. She wasn’t nearly as prolific as Christie, but she was so good at quirky characters–and using women in her books–that I read her Lord Peter Wimsey books and short stories over and over again. I am hung up…don’t know if my favorite of her books would be “Clouds of Witness,” “The Nine Tailors,” or “Gaudy Night.” I did my senior thesis on her mysteries and I like to read it again now and then–not because I’m a great writer, but just to remind myself, if her books are not handy, why I absolutely adore her. Oh wait…I love “Strong Poison” too…
I should have read this blog before posting on the last! Marry Higgins Clark, of course! As I said before, she draws me in with her writing skills! I can’t put her books down until I’ve finished the last page! My favorites are “The Cradle Will Fall,” “Weep No More My Lady,” and “Let Me Call You Sweetheart”.
Mel, Thank you for pointing us all to Dorothy Sayers.
For those of you who don’t know Mel, you can find her senior thesis about Dorothy Sayers on her website. Visit
It’s good reading!
Thanks for the publicity, Kay! For the benefit of other readers, I came to know Kay when I was sent an advance reading copy of her upcoming novel, and I have to say, it’s close to being a favorite as well. Certainly one of my favorite books this year, and if it weren’t for the fact that DL Sayers has ELEVEN mystery novels I love, Kay’s new novel would’ve been an all-time top ten for sure!