My fiance and I had a brief discussion on the phone last night about why I dislike mystery novels so much. Strangely the things I dislike about mystery novels tend to translate better in Fantasy novels, at least as far as my tastes in literature are concerned. Let's boil down mysteries into the pulpy pulps they are, shall we? The main elements of a mystery novel, that are also usually present in fantasy:
- A shadowy organization, usually connected to the government or some other authority figure/powerful group.
- An unusually with-it hero or heroine.
- Some pretty good back-up and/or a friend/sidekick who is only slightly less with-it than previously mentioned hero.
- A seemingly unsolvable crime/situation to attempt to stop and/or solve.
Meanwhile the shadow organizations in fantasy novels have the freedom to be entirely more devious than the shadow organizations set in the "real world." In fantasy, they can be plotting to overthrow anything from a small village to the entire world to heaven itself. They are not limited to the simple greed and deviousness of base human desires. The organizations can also be more complex by adding in elements of magic, special powerful items, dangerous creatures, etc. And fantasy can get away with it because we've already dispensed our disbelief yay-much, so that it's really not much more of a stretch to believe that the King's jester is actually his bastard child in disguise and is plotting to kill off the legitimate male heir and marry his half-sister in some kind of weird incestuous takeover.* Meanwhile it is just too hard to swallow the idea that an ex-marine cop of a small town in Canada all on his lonesome is actually capable of rounding up a small group of terrorists who have kidnapped some rich girl involved in a feminist group's protest against beauty pageants.**
Fantastical heroes are just better in fantastical settings because that is where they belong. Sure, it's great to have a really well informed detective on the case who also happens to be badass at kung fu, but it just doesn't happen all that often in real life, and when you're already throwing in these crazy plots to overthrow the president or assassinate the pope it just makes me want to do this:
|I could really be any one of these people in response to murder mystery herp-derp. I hope this didn't make anyone's browser crash, this is why I don't include .gifs often.|
What are your thoughts? Are you more of a mystery or a fantasy person? WHY do you like mysteries? I sincerely want to know. PS: I recognize I'm currently reading a bunch of very outdated novels, etc. Can you recommend some newer ones that I might actually like? Before you start, I've already read Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It was okay.
*I made this plot up, as far as I know it does not actually exist... but I might be willing to read it.
**A very loose summary of Murder on Ice...which I hated, for many reasons.
My review can be found on Goodreads. Well...at least I'm giving attention to books that don't have much.
-I won this book from Forgotten Bookmarks as part of one of their giveaways. It is not related to publishers, authors, or publishing industry, and I'm under no obligation to provide a review.