Guest Post: The Heart of the Matter: Why I Love a Good Mystery

Today’s guest post is by Susan Russo Anderson, who is the author of not one, but two murder mystery series! So i is obvious that she must love mysteries. In this guest post, she is going to tell us why.

Too Quiet in Brooklyn is available Friday, Dec 20. Today!

Too Quiet in Brooklyn is available Friday, Dec 20. Today!

While you’re here, be sure to check out Susan’s latest novel, Too Quiet in Brooklyn, which is released TODAY! That’s right! Today it is available!

The Heart Of The Matter: Why I Love A Good Mystery

At first blush, mysteries are not a suitable subject for this time of year—unless you’re like me and would rather peer into the surrounding darkness than squint into the glitz of the season.

For many of us, there is something compelling about mysteries. We can’t put them down, perhaps because we need to know what comes next. And even though we think we have the answers to the central questions of who done it and why, we love the shock of being fooled by a surprise at the end.

I’ve loved reading mysteries since forever. I can’t tell you why, not totally. But the mysteries I’ve enjoyed the most, whether historical or contemporary, have certain traits in common. They are driven by a main character I care about, a character in extremis, pushing against improbable odds, a character who never gives up. And surrounding her (or him) is a sense of doom if she doesn’t succeed, not just for herself, but for a bunch of innocent others.

For me, it’s characters who tell their story and sweep me up into their world.  I like to get to know them—how they’ve been hurt, what they yearn for. I like to know about their pets. (Many of them, like Gnarly, become lovable central characters in their own right.) I am curious about their favorite foods, their friends, their lovers, their failures. I am charmed by their uniqueness. I like to watch them grow. Because I care about the characters, I want to know what’s going to happen next in their lives. So a bonus is a mystery in a series where the characters have lives beyond the mystery of the main plot lines, where the characters think and comment and change. Subplots and character monologue—the stuff that books are able to handle so much better than video or film—this keeps me reading books and coming back for more.

But everything I’ve said so far doesn’t explain why I choose to read a mystery over, say, a romance. Is it the puzzle or the gruesome details of the murder? That’s part of it, but not the total answer. There are some people, myself included, who are intrigued with death, arrested by the sudden, inexplicable yet inexorable demise of everyday life. The abrupt abduction. The ending for us all. And it is this placement of death and terror at the heart of a book, and the protagonist’s quest to find the perpetrator, to achieve justice and balance while struggling with grief and loss and the meaning of life, that is at the heart of the matter for me. The main character’s defeat of that dastard, death, however brief, keeps me choosing a mystery over all the other genres.

Susan Russo Anderson, Author of The Serafina Florio Mysteries and the Fina Fitzgibbons Mysteries

Susan Russo Anderson
Author of The Serafina Florio Mysteries
and the Fina Fitzgibbons Mysteries
Click on author photo to visit Susan’s website.

About the Author

Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a grandmother, a widow, a member of Sisters In Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She has taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.

The first book in the Serafina Florio historical mystery series was published in 2012, the fourth book, Murder On The Rue Cassette, earlier this month. She has just published the first book in the Fina Fitzgibbons series, a new adult mystery, Too Quiet In Brooklyn. You can connect with her on her website, on Twitter (@susanrussoander) and Facebook. You can find her books on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Smashwords.

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