I’m talking about mystery stories, full length, often set in a different country and a different decade. When the real world, you know, the one that I hear about in the morning and evening news, scares me, I retreat into fiction, the comfort of a classic who-dun-it where the mystery is solved and there is justice in the world. Years ago, I taught a summer class on the difference between American mysteries and British. In the US we get lots of on-screen gore; on the other side of the Atlantic there’s less bloodletting and it often happens off stage. We enter the story with the detective instead of with the victim. Often a British sleuth appears in a generous series, so I look forward to more suspense without additional angst. I know the murderer will be found and swift justice will assure me that the world has been cleansed of at least one baddie.
Yes, it’s fiction. Life is neither safe nor tidy. I know this but ratiocination keeps me reading series set in small town Great Britain. I know which writers I can rely on to ease my angst over the real crime that we face here in the USA.