Saturday, January 16, 2010

My First Mystery Novel

I remember the first mystery I ever read. It was a Nancy Drew book, "The Clue of the Dancing Puppet". I was hooked from that moment on. I don't remember how old I was, but I'm guessing about 9. Ever since then, I've been a voracious reader. Picky, but voracious. My favorite genres are mysteries and fantasy. I've read a few (very few) true crime novels and to be honest, they scare the crap outta me. I mean, I can read about gruesome murders all through my mystery novels, but when you read about a gruesome murder that really happened? Gives me the heebie jeebies for days on end.

From the moment I read that Nancy Drew, I had to read more. I collected Nancy Drew books until they stopped publishing the yellow-spined versions. It used to be that they only released a new ND book once a year and it was such an event for me. Nowadays, I'm guessing they pop those puppies out every month. It just haven't that same sense of anticipation that I had as a kid. I still have all my yellow backs, plus a goodly number of older versions of ND, maybe even a first edition or two. They were all rewritten in the 50s to be more "politically-correct" so reading the older versions is spectacular.

I don't like reading gruesome murder mysteries. For example, I stopped reading James Patterson books a while ago, because I think he got caught up in the distressing details of over-the-top murders. Not my thing. I like little cosy mysteries, such as Agatha Christie. Basically, I like my murders clean and tidy.

Fantasy books. I do like fantasy books. Not so much the "slay the dragon" books, but more the "farm boy is actually a prince" type of books. I also like HEA books. What's HEA, you ask? Happily Ever After. Deep down, I'm a sap. I don't want the books I run to as an escape from real life to emulate real life. I want the damn happy ending. (OK, OK ... not the massage happy ending, thankyouverymuch!) I just like the stories to resolve into a happy note, like a minor chord resolving into a beautiful warm major chord and trailing off in my memory.

Do you live in your books? I mean, do you think about them after you've finished them and start to relive those fictional events in your head? I do. As I said in a previous post, I feel like I don't have a lot of imagination so I live vicariously through others, and that's what I do when I relive these fictional events. I don't even put myself in the place of the heroine or anything. I just put the tape on replay and watch it all unfold in my head again. And then, when the tape gets fuzzy or broken, I read the book again, to revisit old friends and make a new copy of the tape. This is why I read some books over and over again. I'm not a "read it one time and I'll always remember whodunnit" person. On the contrary, I read books again and again because they give comfort by their familiarity, even if I know whodunnit. Some books are like a calorie-free dish of comforting mac'n'cheese.

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