When there may be mysteries darker than murder

Yesterday, BookPeople’s Mystery People blog published my article on murder and mystery, which came out of Anahuac becoming available at BookPeople earlier this year. I truly appreciate the opportunity to contribute to Austin’s prestigious independent bookstore in this way.

I like BookPeople for a lot of reasons, not least of which that it’s just a short and relaxing walk from where I live. BookPeople has been supportive of my efforts to market my books and those of other local Austin authors. The Writer’s League of Texas uses BookPeople’s meeting room for their meetings. All-in-all, BookPeople is a great model for an indie book store.

I wrote the article for BookPeople to say thanks for all of their help and also to explain why my idea of a murder mystery doesn’t include a description of heavy violence or gore.This paragraph, in particular, captured a lot of what I was thinking about as I was writing the book, and once I began to see people interact with it:

Most of us abhor violence. Yet mystery, especially when it involves murder, is one of our favorite literary genres. The “why” of its popularity is not so hard to understand when one accepts that the violence and death in a murder mystery are usually purely fictional. We shiver in anticipation as the roller coaster reaches the top of the hill, because the exhilaration of the bottom dropping out is “safe.” Mystery lets us enter into the violent world of murder without actually being in danger. The journey is aided by the fact that our imaginations don’t—in the moment, at least—distinguish between real danger and the imagined.

If you are a fan of mysteries I encourage you to subscribe to the Mystery People blog. There are great insights from mystery writers, including interviews and remembrances, as well as reviews on a whole range of mysteries. It’s a great resource for those of you looking for which whodunnit to read next.