We all love a little mystery in our lives. Small mysteries make life so much more interesting and so much less predictable. “The need for mystery,” wrote American author Ken Kesey, “is greater than the need for an answer.” What better way to bring a little mystery into your life than to read one? This year marks the 10th annual One Book, One Community read sponsored by the Friends of the Library, the Raynham Cultural Council and the library. The selection is, you guessed it, a little mystery.
I am a mystery lover, I’ll confess. As a child I consumed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Later I discovered Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Daphne du Maurier. I like the puzzle of the mystery – the intellectual challenge of the plot’s twists and turns. I love plotlines that allow me to find the clues and solve the riddles that point to the guilty culprit. I enjoy the story knowing that the murderer will be caught in the end, justice will be served, and my sleuth will live to solve another mystery in the next book.
There are all kinds of mysteries. You may prefer a police procedural or a mystery of psychological suspense. There are romantic mysteries, historical mysteries, cozy mysteries and humorous mysteries. There are the “hard-boiled” mysteries that are strictly detective stories. There are mysteries that feature male leads, female leads and even cats and dogs as main characters.
What makes a good mystery? First of all, it must have interesting, if not likeable characters. Whether the main character in the mystery is a police detective, a private investigator, or an amateur sleuth, readers must be able to connect with them in some way. Setting is important since it can add to the suspense and support the plot. Would Rebecca be as suspenseful without Manderley? The plot must be intricate and absorbing but not so complex that it becomes unbelievable. The solution or resolution of the suspense must be satisfying, believable based on the clues and impart a sense of justice, and if the ending involves a huge plot twist, all the better.
Trust Me, by Hank Phillippi Ryan, this year’s Raynham Reads, is a mystery as well as psychological thriller. A woman is accused of a murder she says she did not commit, while a journalist is grieving an enormous loss. If you are familiar with the Casey Anthony trial, this story will feel similar in some ways. That trial even plays a role in the book. The story is a cat-and-mouse game of manipulation and deception that will have you guessing in a dozen different directions before you finish reading. Copies are available at the library. Put a little mystery in your life! Join the community read and join the discussion of Trust Me.