Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Individuals matter

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some mystery stories are just puzzles, but in the best stories, individuals matter.

For me, that's at the heart of all great writing. Individuals matter, both the detectives and the victims. Even the individual villains matter.

I looked at the World Clock website today. It told me the world population is 6,762,297,759 (at the time I looked). 30,499,542 have died this year. 71,672,732 have been born this year. Simple arithmetic shows that the world's population increased this year alone over forty-one million people.

But when I read about something like The Magdalen Martyrs, I hurt for them. I am incensed at the injustice (too tame a word). Those abused women matter.

The fact that the church in which I grew up (I was baptized and raised Roman Catholic) perpetrated the abuse incenses me all the more.

The abuse clearly incenses Ken Bruen too. That's what makes his book about the martyrs so powerful.

I've never been much for Agatha Christie, though over the years I read most of her books. I was even amazed by some of them (Ackroyd and the like). But for me, the victims were never real people. They were always just the source of the puzzle.

For me, in the best books, individuals matter.

3 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

If a mystery or detective story doesn't have interesting individuals, might as well work a crossword puzzle. The effect, for me, is the same as reading a Christie.

Joe Barone said...

Great to hear from you! It had been a while and your blog didn't change during that time. I knew you were out of pocket.

Corey Wilde said...

Yes, I had a houseful of family visiting plus assorted dramas from non-visitors. Mostly it was fun and I loved having them but I did miss reading and blogging. I didn't get much reading in except for short stories at bed time. Good to be back in cyberspace again.