The Mystery Mistique by Lisa Sherwood-Fabre

          I’m coming out of the closet to confess. I’m a mystery junkie. Ever since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book in the fourth grade, I’ve been hooked.  At that time, almost all my babysitting money went to feed my addiction. I was devastated when the price went from $1.75 to over $2. Didn’t the powers that be understand how long it would take me to get those extra quarters? All the same, I continued to feed the monkey. Just had to wait a little longer between fixes. I supplemented my Nancy Drew diet with a little Trixie Beldon, but her adventures were never quite as hair-raising as Nancy’s. I would always return to the titian-hair sleuth in the end.

My habit has matured, but mystery/thriller/suspense novels still hold a special appeal. Most recently, I finished Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell. This “who dunnit” involves a series of murders in Victorian England. Quite a different setting for the creator of Rambo. While the book’s main character is an older man, his grown daughter, who shuns conventional Victorian attire for a pair of bloomers, plays a prominent role in capturing the killer.

My addiction has manifested itself in my own writing as well. My debut novel, Saving Hope is a thriller set in post-Soviet Russia, and my Golden Heart® finalist Heads Up, St. Anthony involved a political consultant ferreting out who on her client’s staff was leaking items to the press.

In analyzing my attraction to this genre, I’ve identified two main elements that keep me coming back for more. The first is the puzzle aspect intrinsic in the story. A good mystery sprinkles clues throughout the book. Part of my enjoyment of reading one involves discovering these hints and putting them together before the main character does. It’s an ego-boost to be able to say “Ha! I figured all this out on page 123!” when the perpetrator is revealed on page 289,

Solving a mystery is also a great way for women to show off their brains, skills, and courage. Not all have well-to-do-lawyer fathers who never seem to be too concerned about the number of murders and other criminal activities in his small town, but they all reveal the same strong characteristics I first discovered in Nancy Drew. They are women who run toward danger when everyone else is going in the opposite direction—even though this will be fifteenth time they’ll wind up in a basement with a ticking bomb. I know they’ll make it through somehow. After all, I have volumes sixteen through forty to go.

Anyone else out there like to share about their mystery addiction? What appeals to you about these stories? Read one lately you’d like to share?

Lisa Sherwood-Fabre grew up in Dallas, Texas and knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane and Sally’s ruined picnic. After working and living internationally for more than fifteen years-in Africa, Latin America, and Russia, she returned to the states and seriously pursued her writing career. Her debut novel Saving Hope, a thriller set in Russia, is now available from Musa Publishing

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  1. Wishing you the very best with your first novel, Liese! I’m a mystery junkie too, and my first seven novels were all in that genre. My favorite? The Final Victim. Anyway, good to be here.

  2. Hi, Liese and Sylvia! Saving Hope is a fabulous book. I just loved it. And I loved Nancy and Trixie too. One Christmas, I bought a Nancy Drew for my sissie and read it before giving it to her. LOLOL I couldn’t wait!

  3. I, too, love mystery stories. Although I’ve written a trilogy of sci-fi books, one published and two more under Musa contract to come out 5/9/14 and the other later this year, I have a mystery novel under consideration.
    Solving the puzzle before the end is the fun part.

    Best of luck.

  4. Yep! Read every Nancy Drew and before that the Bobbsie Twins. (Does anyone remember those? They were written for younger kids.)

    I’m a nightmare to watch mysteries with because I blurt out who did it, how and why. I don’t know why I can’t keep it to myself! Maybe it’s my unquenchable craving to hear the phrase: “You were right.” 🙂

    Saving Hope? Got it, read it, loved it!

  5. Hi, Liese! Best of luck with your new release (I’ll go look for it). I’ve been a mystery junkie all my life, from Nancy Drew to the classics (Christie, Rinehart, Marsh, Allingham et all) to the moderns (Grafton, Muller, Evanovich). And I just realized that all these first authors to come to mind are women. But I’ve read the guys, too. Every book should have a mystery of some kind.

  6. Gosh, I LOVE mysteries/thrillers! Two of my favorite authors are Kathy Reich and I’ve recently fallen in love with Tom Robb Smith. Reich is amazing because she’s a really forensic anthropologist, and Smith blows me away with his intense plot twists and his setting–Russia during the USSR days.

    Great post!

  7. I have to confess to a real liking for Nero Wolfe – something about his view of the world has always appealed to me.

  8. My sister was a big Trixie Beldon and Bobbsie Twins’ fan…she still has some books in the basement. Her eleven-year-old goddaughter found them, started reading them, and is really enjoying them.

  9. While I am a romance lover to the core, I also love cozy mysteries. A romance with a little mystery/suspense included is even better. Trying to solve the mystery before getting to the end of a book is something I love. Saving Hope sounds like a great book and I look forward to reading it!

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