Friday, May 17, 2013

Why Mysteries? by Phyllis Smallman

One of the questions I’m always asked is, “Why do you write mysteries?”

First of all, I love to read mysteries. Mysteries are epic adventures, life and death struggles to right wrongs, to see justice done and to discover truth.  Often reluctant and unprepared, the hero or heroine goes on a quest, taking us with them.

Stories of crime explore the darker side of human nature, greed, anger; jealousy and love…all of these emotions are at the heart of a good mystery. We all fear being the victim of crime. Each of us feels as vulnerable to crime as we do to disease.  Money won’t protect you …nor does education…nor culture…and while we already know how dangerous the world is without mysteries to tell us, our fear holds us enthralled. 

As I grow older a phrase comes back to me…. “things are going to hell in a handcart.”  From the bible to Starwars, the fight against evil goes on.  In fact the first crime stories appear in the bible…Cain murdering Able...Joseph being sold into slavery…the bible is full of tales of theft and murder, tales of the killing of babies.  And you think identity theft is new?   Think of Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright.  These stories tell us things are not getting worse, they were always like this and for me this is a comforting thought. We may not be winning but we’re not losing either. It is a struggle that goes on day after day and generation after generation.

Crime is so central to life we name it like the Eskimos name snow. Petty crime, blue collar crime, or major crime, I write about it because I write about the drama of life.

Phyllis Smallman

This article was first published on OmniMystery News on February 5th, 2013. It's re-printed here by permission of the author.

Phyllis Smallman is the award winning author of 5 books in the Sherri Travis mystery series, chosen by Good Morning America as one of the 6 best mystery series for summer reading in 2010.  Her next book, Long Gone Man out in the fall of 2013, and is the first in a new series.