Yesterday, in a conversation I had with my daughter, I described a “problem” I just had with the mystery book I finished very recently. While I really appreciate the author’s writing style, my “complaint” is that since I LOVE cozy mysteries, I put a lot of weight on the “mystery” part of the book. I have only read two of this author’s mysteries. I don’t know if the third will prove to be different, but in the first two books of her series, I knew exactly who the culprits were as soon as I was “introduced” to the characters.
I don’t mean to say that the characters first appeared holding knives, while their clothes were drenched in a telltale crimson-colored substance >>> I mean that the characters did something as simple as say hello. I absolutely KNEW they were the culprits… Why else would they have been included in the mystery books?!? The culprits seemed to ingratiate themselves with the sleuth >>> becoming overly friendly with the sleuth in a very short time >>> always asking about the sleuth’s progress solving the crime.
Of course, mystery books are full of new characters… Some are added to the series’ rosters of “regulars” and some are simply there for one book. So, why is it that in both books by this author, I knew which characters were the “bad guys” upon meeting them? Have I read too many mystery books? Nope!!! That could never be the case for me!
Why am I not able to do this with every author? Why can I be left wondering whodunit in the vast majority of the mysteries I choose to spend my time reading?
When I told my daughter about this particular “problem,” she asked me if the author’s style of writing outweighs the “problem.” And, she suggested that I write an entry about this and ask you all:
If you really enjoy the writing style of an author, is it important that the mystery be well-played? Do you continue with authors who aren’t able to keep the culprit a mystery until the end of the book? Do you enjoy going along with the author as he/she weaves red herrings in and out of the mystery?
PS>>> I am currently taking a break from the author described above while I read my next Susan Wittig Albert mystery. She keeps me guessing all of the time, and I love her writing style!