Murder, mystery, and suspense. Lately, one of my projects is to read up in the mystery field. When I was a kid, my parents got me a subscription to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, which, I’m happy to say, is still running. While I liked the magazine, I eventually dug myself so deeply into sci-fi, fantasy, and Literature that I didn’t do much with mystery. I hadn’t even read all the Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories until this year.
One of the changes that I find in my perception about the field is that most genre movies suck as bad for mystery and suspense (as compared to the fiction) as they do in the sci-fi field. Mystery, it turns out, is as much about the refinement of plot as sci-fi is about setting and fantasy is about character. (What is a mystery without plot twists? What is sci-fi without the world in which it’s placed? What is fantasy without exploration of character, i.e., good and evil, madness and sanity, etc?) While there are some good mystery/suspense movies out there, the majority of them are just…bad. And now that I know what I’m missing, they’re really bad.