In correlation with an article I wrote for my newsletter (which you can sign up for here), I wanted to blog a little something about happiness and relieving stress. As I mentioned in the newsletter, reading has been proven to relieve stress and lower heart rate, and (though it seems intuitive) so has smiling. In fact, the very act of smiling releases feel-good chemicals in your brain like serotonin and endorphins.
But as mystery readers, we sometimes languish on the darker side of life so let’s remember what exactly makes us happy.
6 Things That Make Mystery Readers Happy
The Crime: The crime is what starts us off, and the more mysterious the circumstances the better. Mystery harkens back to the very chord storytelling strikes within all of us. It’s a safe way to experience the world and in this case, the darkest side of the world. And in the end, we know justice will prevail. Insensible deaths are explained through reasoning, and for a while, we can accept their occurrence.
Monologue: Every good villain must explain her MO and we can’t wait to hear it! We want to know what warped their thoughts, what sick and twisted route led them to this place. We’ve all got some villainy in us, and much like The Crime above, it’s a safe place to explore those bad thoughts, or feel good about rising above.
Red Herring: A good red herring achieves on of two things: it either has us shaking our heads in disbelief that we fell for it, or screaming out in frustration as the characters chase down obviously false leads. It’s the fun of the chase!
Deep Dark Secrets: We love to know the juicy gossip, the horrible experiences others have gone through (and survived), the secret darkness that resides in us all. Secrets give us power over others but are also a great way to earn another’s trust.
Femme Fatale: The attraction of the femme fatale is, of course, lust. She’s the untouchable woman, the woman men can’t control. She’s beautiful and dangerous, which is very attractive to men, and she’s a woman with power, which I think is something most women wish for.
Detective With a Burden: We love to watch someone else crumbling under pressure, their past, or their mistakes because we’ve all been there. Just like watching him solve crimes gives us hope that justice will be meted out, so overcoming his burdens gives us hope that we can overcome our own.
What are some things you love about mysteries? Comment below!