Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An interesting question

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I gave a little presentation about The Body in the Record Room. I talked about the book and about Kirkbride buildings.

One man, a friend, asked an interesting question. "I read somewhere that mystery stories are to be puzzles, not emotional," he said. "In your story we come to care for some people who end up being murdered."

"My book's not a cozy," was my answer. A cozy book would be more like something Agatha Christie would write, more a puzzle than a character study, though some of her books break that mold.

I didn't think to say it at the time, but if I had to answer the question again, I might say, "Think about the man who started it all." Edgar Allen Poe was a Romantic writer, a member of the school which stressed emotion. You can't read something like "The Telltale Heart" without feeling a little chill.

So there are all kinds of mystery stories, just as there are all kinds of other stories. Genres have a lot of different sub-genres, and I'm thankful. We're all different people, and we all like to read different kinds of things.



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