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.

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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