Saturday, February 25, 2012

Do You Like to Figure Out the Killer?

by June Shaw

When you're reading a mystery, do you want to figure out who the killer is? Are you disappointed if you figure out that person before the end of the story? Or do you really care about whether you determine the killer at all?

I know lots of readers really care -- I mean REALLY care about determining the antagonist long before the sleuth does. Many readers say they will toss a mystery if they figure out "who done it."

I won't. Whenever I'm reading a mystery, I need to stay invested in its characters--the people who bring it alive. Once I am, then I don't normally care whether I can determine the bad guy or not.

But I seem to be in the minority.

Okay, so I am a big fan of Janet Evanovitch books (some have compared my books to hers, and I'm thriled.) By the time she's letting us know the bad guy, I really don't care who it is. I'm just having fun with her stories.

Of the three books in my humorous mystery series, I have never had anyone say they determined the killer before my main character. No one does. I kind of planned it that way, although actually what I wanted to do was write books kind of similar to Janet E.'s, but with a more mature heroine.

People tell me my books are fun. That's what I was going for.

If you are a mystery reader and can determine the bad guy or gal before my sleuth does, please let me know. I'll tell people, "Your name ... is the only reader of my books that I know of who's ever figured out who the killer was long before my amateur sleuth does." And who knows -- maybe I'll send you a ribbon or something.

So how about you? Do you always like to figure out who the killer is, or do you even care?


Jaden Terrell said...

Good question, June. When I'm reading, I don't worry too much about figuring out who the killer is. I do think about it, but it's not critical to me. I'm not disappointed if I figure it out as long as the book has enough other strong elements to keep me engaged. If a book would still be worth reading even without the mystery, that's a winner in my book. The kind where a well-crafted mystery is icing on an already perfect cake.

Jackie King said...

Hi June, I always try to figure out whodunnit. That's a lot of the fun for me. I love it when I'm right...makes me feel proud. When I'm wrong, I like that too, because the author out-foxed me.

Sometimes I'm tempted to turn to the back page and cheat, but know I'll regret this, so I try not to do it.

Good post.