Friday, May 21, 2010

The Ultimate Crime

Does it bother us that we read murder mysteries? Sometimes it bothers me.

Even though most of what I read are cozy mysteries which are defined by a lack of graphic violence, we are still talking about the ultimate crime - murder.

Would the books be as interesting if we were reading about say, embezzlement? Probably not. As readers, and even as a society, I doubt we would care as much about finding the perpetrator in an embezzlement case. Especially if it happened to a large corporation - we might feel that they already have enough money. We might even sympathize with the criminal and say that company deserved it.

But it’s hard to sympathize with someone who has taken a life. We want this crime to be solved and the perpetrator punished.

So when we read these books, that is why we root for the female-sleuth - to find the ultimate solution to the ultimate crime.

Perhaps the bigger question is does reading about murder, playing games where characters are murdered, or viewing violent crime on TV and in the movies desensitize us as a society to murder?

The debate continues.


Librarian said...

I don't think that reading a lot of crime fiction makes one more prone to become a criminal than someone who does not read such books. Regarding the type of crime, certainly murder is the ultimate crime. But I have read books that were equally gripping without a murder to happen, where, for instance, the story was about a stolen work of art, or a person disappearing out of their normal life, and how the work of art or the missing person was found was a most fascinating read.

Book Bird Dog said...

I agree with Librarian. Mysteries ae one of the most popular genres, read by a wide variety of people. Ask a librarian:) I read mysteries because I like puzzles and problem solving. The ending of a mystery is most often neat, all loose ends are tied up, most of the time, and the ending has finality - the bad guys are put out of the picture and good prevails. No so other books. Nice tidy endings...most of the time. That's the appeal for me, anyway.

LadyPI said...

Thanks for your interesting and insightful comments. Mystery books of any subject would be pretty unsatisfying if things weren't cleared up at the end.