Mystery/detective novels are known for having two ends to one story: a crime and a likely resolution. In between, the author may use multiple settings and characters to direct the reader on a path for him or her to draw their own conclusion. The protagonist, usually a sleuth or trained investigator observes and deduces clues presented before him. He confronts his own conflict, his social filter framed with personal experiences and history with crime. These variables are part of the detective's checklist that he uses to become nearer to the desired end—or not. The experienced detective knows that what he initially observes is not always what it seems. Multiple suspects, misleads and inaccurate witness accounts all contribute to an unintended detour that the detective thought would lead to a closed case. Identifying marks, entry wounds or one last object held in his hands were the final disclosures to anyone who would hear. The decedent itself is but another clue. Sometimes these are ignored. So what makes a mystery/detective novel so alluring? Perhaps it is the thrill that the reader experiences as he or she walks in parallel step to the detective. The readers wonder whether they see what the detective does not, and whether the investigator observes something and intentionally withholds it from others. The reader now must undertake a two-tier approach until the novel's end. He or she will be careful to solve the same mystery and to unravel any omitted observations or secrets that the protagonist has not disclosed. The reader and detective are on the same side only for one thing—closure. The detective or sleuth may need an additional sort of resolution for his mind to be at rest. For instance, a hard-boiled detective may have come from the "mean streets" himself and solving the case does not only helps his statistics, but may provide a psychological reprieve for his own experiences with street life. For the traditionalist, this sort of detective sees her work until the end, ensuring accuracy and justice for the victim. The purpose of their job appears clear. It is to resolve the case in a just manner and contribute the lopsided aspect of society aright. The readers can argue as to which approach is the most noteworthy, but in either fashion, the author has likely written the story in order for the detective to accomplish his given task.
What else would likely make a mystery/detective novel enticing to the average reader? Each book is a mystery regardless of the genre. Readers judge a book by its cover. They read a synopsis with the hope they now have a glimpse as to the contents of the text. Some readers may have read some of the previous works by the same author, causing them to predict the pattern of events to take place a new book. Yet one never truly knows what a novel is about until he has read it. However, each story is different. Not only does the protagonist approaches his case assignment filled with a roadmap of previous experiences, so does the reader. The reader discerns clues based on their own individual understanding of life and the society in which they live. He or she uses the familiar to unravel the mystery of the unfamiliar, this includes opening the pages to a book he or she has never read. The allure of the mystery/detective novel in the broader sense is similar to what other books provide, a new adventure for the reader. A way to step away from life in a gated world that pulls from the real one, creating a literary dance in which reader, author, and characters decide how and who should step in. Storytelling telling is its own mystery with different interpretations and allusions. The reader becomes an ancillary character never known by those within the novel, but is just as necessary to breathe life into the story as the fictional personas depicted.
Fiction author Patricia M. Muhammad will soon publish her third mystery/detective romance novel. What makes this novel different than the other two? She has added elements of magical realism. This genre is usually associated with young adults and is the focus of those novels. This author incorporated magical realism by those of varying ages, both male and female. The use of the esoteric within the storyline remains a mystery—which perfectly fits in her next published novel.
To celebrate completing her twenty-first novel, fiction author Patricia M. Muhammad is giving away ten (10) ebook copies of her second mystery/detective romance novel, Murder By Dissent. Visit the LibraryThing's Members Giveaway page for more details: https://www.librarything.com/er/giveaway/list.
About the Author: Patricia M. Muhammad is a multi-genre fiction author. She has written twenty-one (21) novels. Patricia enjoys international travel. Patricia is now based in the United Kingdom.
Connect with Patricia:
Social Media: @pmmuhammadbooks
Press: [email protected]