Twists, turns, tantalizing topics: Literary mysteries leave audiences guessing

Lillian Smith

Mystery books are one of the most gripping genres out there, whether it be the suspense when a detective faces off with a criminal or the adrenaline rush when a victim is put into a harrowing situation. These books bring life to crazy and interesting scenarios that are both fun to read and attempt to solve as readers follow along. 

One classic English mystery writer I particularly enjoy is P.D. James. While she didn’t start publishing books until her 40s, she was able to write many incredible books that are both exciting and interesting.

Some mystery writers get caught up in the idea of having as much of an unexpected ending as possible, and this leads readers to lose interest since oftentimes the guilty person is impossible to spot. The author will conjure up an incredibly complex and unrealistic ending that contradicts information given previously in the book. Fortunately, P. D. James has mastered the art of a good ending.

Her endings consist of all previous leads (even the red herrings) being tied up with a beautiful bow. Everything falls into place at the end and it makes finishing the book satisfying.

Her books also stand out because of how detailed they are. While some people complain that the pace of her books are too slow, I think the way she writes highlights every aspect of each character. 

Whether reading about the character directly or learning about them through another character’s conversation, readers pick up on who the characters really are. This makes it feel like the reader is following detective Adam Dalgliesh on his mission to uncover the truth behind another one of P.D. James’ terrific mysteries.

Another classic mystery writer that I thoroughly enjoy is Carolyn Keene. Her character, Nancy Drew, is somewhat nostalgic to me since her books made up my childhood, but the books still hold up well when I go back to revisit them years later. 

What makes her books so special is her character, Nancy, and the time period the books are set in. Nancy is intelligent, capable, and solves mysteries as a hobby. Not only was she someone I looked up to, but also the way she lives her life is something any child can learn from. Plus, seeing this independent girl doing such adventurous things was a nice thing to read about when growing up. 

The books are set in the 1930s and 40s, so reading about how things during this time affected a teen girl is interesting. Every little thing from how she makes phone calls to how she puts gas in her car is different than what people experience today.

While some may claim that reading a mystery book isn’t for them since they don’t like mysteries or they would prefer a movie, I just think about all that they are missing. Mysteries range from maids being murdered to a young girl finding clues in a clock, and getting to know characters superficially in movies scenes is nothing like the world readers explore page by page in a book.