On a Mystery That’s No Mystery

I’m currently reading a mystery novel.

I have a problem with it, though.

It’s not much of a mystery.

Here’s the problem.

The way the murder is set up, at the end of the first chapter, there are only two characters that have the opportunity to commit the murder.

At the end of the second chapter, one of those two characters has also been murdered.

Which means, process of elimination, that the other character from the first chapter must be the murderer.

Now, the second chapter goes to great pains to look at characters who have motive. Characters other than the two from the first chapter.

But, there’s a problem! The second chapter also makes clear that none of these characters have opportunity.

Here’s what’s worse. The two characters from the first chapter? They’re the ones doing the investigation. (Someone else is in charge of the investigation, but these two are doing varying levels of grunt work.)

In short, this mystery hardly even qualifies as a mystery. It’s obvious to me, now, who the murderer is. No, I don’t know the motive, though I can probably take a stab at it — and perhaps even come close.

But is that going to carry the book for another 250 pages?

And worse, are the characters really as stupid as the number of pages left to me implies?

Yeah, this book is bad.

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