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  • Writer's pictureTracey Lee

It's a mystery!

As a writer of mysteries and crime fiction I’m constantly doing my homework! That is, I’m reading lots of books in this genre, watching new television shows and films. A walk through any bookshop or a trawl online provides a profusion of choices. It seems the reading public likes a good mystery. And it makes me wonder why? Why do many of us like to be involved in the unfolding of a conundrum?


I have a theory! Life is a series of puzzles, riddles, secrets and problems. We seem to be constantly seeking answers to life’s great mysteries and so many folks are still out there searching for themselves. How many times in a day do we ask why? Why am I doing this? Why are you doing that? Why has this happened? Why do bad things happen? It is an endless litany of questions as we try to make meaning of the things life throws at us. I’m amazed at how often I hear that word on a daily basis. (I am a teacher; it could be a contributory factor).


I am in equal measure confounded by the number of people who really don’t ever strike out to find the answers to their questions. If we are asking why, surely we are seeking some solution. We can’t be content simply with the question can we? But finding answers to complex problems is not easy. In fact it’s really hard; and at times quite painful. It takes a lot of effort and it involves both the brain and the heart. Solutions come when we are prepared to think, feel, seek, research, ask and listen. And at times accept that all our searching may not render a complete resolution. Often, in life, we are left with more mystery than we started with. In those circumstances we have to learn to live with a probable truth, not a certain one. What appears to be the most logical may just have to be our solution.


In books and films though the mystery is eventually unknotted. Despite numerous complications the writer creates for her reader, her job remains a dénouement. The finale reveals, if not a happy ending, at least there is a cessation of vexation, a revelation of the truth and most likely the fingers are pointed at the perpetrator of the crime/chaos/secret.


The “why question” is all worked out for you in the end. But outside of fiction our personal mysteries, whether they be the cruelty of the Fates, or riddles left for us by our secret-keeping ancestors or the perplexing human behaviour of those around us, the answers may just not be so tidy. In life the ‘unknotting of the clues’ is sometimes just impossible. Hence, we love a mystery novel or the thrill of hunt on telly. We ask why and an obliging creator answers.


Keep searching! Keep reading! Keep asking!

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