Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for the 3rd Seth Seppi mystery, the Cut Throat Cafe, with her guest post about why children love crime fiction. Onto the post!
I know crime fiction played a big part in making me a reader. Crime fiction was something I discovered as a child and I still love it today.
The urge to recreate that particular something that appealed to me was what inspired me to write. But it’s tricky to even define exactly what it is about crime fiction that really pulls me in.
You could say from a psychological point of view that every story is about wanting to unravel the uncertainty and answer questions: what is going to happen? However, to a certain extent, the sort of mysteries I’ve always loved the best are those where it is more important to try to work out what has happened.
What are the events that have led up to this crime – and how can you fathom what is really going on when everyone is determined to tell you lies and keep their secrets.
There is something both compelling and satisfying about pitting your wits against the baddies. For me it’s a very interactive way of reading a story – seeing if you are good enough to spot the lies and see through the deception, to sift and sort the real clues from the red herrings.
Crime fiction often feels quite removed from real life, (at least the kind of life I’ve led). Yet I have learned about charismatic baddies and how people work hard to disguise their true selves. How you have to look very carefully and to listen to people’s stories and make up your own mind. Analyse what people are saying, because it may well be a pack of lies.
Looking back, I put my early love of crime fiction down as the reason I was drawn into journalism. All those stories finely tuned my ear to want to hear people tell their own stories.
Of how they have arrived at a certain point – the point where I was interviewing them. It was irritating when I came to write crime fiction that I found it tough to do. I felt I was such a good reader of crime fiction I should find it straightforward.
It was introducing fantasy and magic into the stories that gave me enormous scope. A fantasy setting unleashes the freedom for all sorts of bad things to happen, without any of it seeming to be too much like a grim reflection of real life. That has made it easier to focus on the playful side of crime fiction.
After all, what is fantasy if not a metaphor for our world, with all its faults and deceptions. And what is the best children’s literature, if not a subversive way to learn about many things perhaps adults think you shouldn’t want to know?
I endeavour to make the puzzles fairly tortuous. My plots are pretty complicated, but this is very much a reflection of what really hooked me into reading. I do wonder if crime fiction isn’t perfectly matched with being a child at school. You are faced daily with things that at first seem too difficult and you feel can’t possibly make any sense. The only way to see the truth and understand is to puzzle it out.
What are your favourite things about mystery books? Do you have any recommendations for mysteries? I’d love to hear in the comments!