Does anything compare with settling into a good mystery? Yes, finding a good mystery is also a really great activity. Walking through bookstores or libraries, hearing about a new author from a friend, reading about a new book or writer and especially finding out that one of your favorite authors just came out with a new book! All these are the experiences which we mystery readers have to look forward to.
Some of these characters in these books are my best friends. The detective Nero Wolf! Archie Goodwin. Miss Marple. Hercule Poirot. Even reading Rex Stout's books for the fifth time each is a marvelous experience.
Of course, it isn't like it used to be. Agatha Christie and the authors of her time weren't interested in sex, excessive violence and all the rampant evil that is so prevalent today. It was about a crime. It happened and usually wasn't very graphically described. Then the mental exercise began. Studying each character. Looking at and thinking about human motives. I really believe that these great writers taught us about the nature of the human experience and how others may choose behavior that improves their character or ruins it.
We learned that there are consequences to choices that violate both God's and man's laws. Crime was punished and we felt a sense of justice when people repented and chose to leave negative aspects of their personality behind them. This is really what literature is about, enabling us to learn. Even though these authors aren't considered authors of classic literature, they provided experiences which could promote growth if we read them with a desire to understand more about what causes behavior. We could learn from the experiences of their characters what might help us and what might hurt us. We learned how negative experiences affect all the people involved. Hopefully, we could learn vicariously and prevent making mistakes.
Remember Nancy Drew and her roadster? Her friendship with Bess and their bravery and courage combined with the firm desire to do the right? Her father and the values he shared with his daughter as well as the social aspects of life often made us want to be like her and to do good things.
There are many things about trying to read today's authors that are disconcerting. At least we can usually tell when something is coming that we don't want to be involved in, the sexual scenes or the violence of things like mutilation and skip the next few pages. But some of the most violent stories I know of are found in the Book Of Mormon. Ammon cut off how many arms? Think of all the espionage and spy stories in the same book. Sending wine to the Lamanites so Limhi and the ones with him could escape. Think of Nephi cutting off Laban's head. These are stories of real people and real events. There are lessons to be learned in those stories.
One powerful lesson we learn from good mysteries is that evil exists. God allows evil for reasons we understand. But don't we love the feeling we get when we read that good conquers evil? The criminal is caught and punished. AHHHHHH.
Wow! I love the values that you describe and the learning that can come from mysteries. Yes, growing up I loved the Nancy Drew stories and their lessons. What a great "memory jog." Interesting insights.
There's something about reading that allows the mind to create the images it wants. Regardless of the details of a scene or person each person has a different image in their mind. Mysteries do even more. They allow one to visualize concepts and theories in a strange way. I can feel my mind digging into the deepest parts of my brain when reading mysteries. Nicely done Joyce.
Joyce, I don't know you from Adam (where did that saying come from, anyway???), but any friend of Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot and Nancy Drew and her roadster (I've always wondered just what a "roadster" was) is a friend of mine! Your thoughtful treatment of the subject was very good.