A Mystery, Sans Murder
When I was in elementary school, the PTA put on a play for the kids. It was a mystery play! My mom tried out and got to be a suspect! However, both my mom and I regretted that the mystery only involved a stolen necklace. The PTA thought a murder mystery wouldn’t be appropriate for elementary school kids. I was already reading mysteries involving murders, even some that were geared toward a younger audience, so this seemed dumb to me (as must adult things seem to a 10-year-old). How can you have a mystery without a dead body!
While my fictional interest in spooky and deadly stories remains rather strong, I have come to realize that there are many different kinds of mysteries. I’m certainly not the first to say that a large part of the success of Harry Potter had to do with the fact that the books were set up as mysteries. Readers wanted to collect clues, along with Harry, to figure out what the heck was going on.
I recently took a softer approach to a mystery in my book RED BLOODED. There is no murder or blood and guts, but Peyton must circumvent the media and her mom’s presidential campaign staff to investigate the truth about her family. As she uncovers clues, she realizes how much more there is to know. So, while there aren’t screams and chalk outlines, the reader still needs to help Peyton solve the mystery around her family.
What mysteries have you enjoyed that don’t have involve a murder?