Murder most foul
I had once read Richard Gordon describe detective stories as tales of ' chaps killing other chaps by highly complicated means.'
I used to be a big fan of mystery books once. I used to love Agatha Christie. Hercule Poirot with his 'mademoiselle's and 'mon ami's and 'eh bien's. In the blurb of some book I had read that 'The murder of Roger Ackroyd' and 'The Mousetrap' were her La Christie's most famous book and play respectively. And then I had had no peace till I tracked these masterpieces and read them and found them disappointing. Then I had once laughed my insides out at Georgette Heyer's 'Envious Casca'. It was a mystery book and I had guessed the ending but the sharp tongues of all the characters made the book a worth read. Impressed with Heyer I bought several more of her books. Looks like Envious Casca was her best work. The others were not only not funny, they had the same dreary plots - for eg some disguised cousin from Australia who bumps of a lot of people because she's next in line for the legacy.
I am through with detective books. Give me another English party replete with Great grandmothers, granduncles, cousins, wives, business partners, butlers, parlor maids, housemaids, gardners and cooks, with a couple of murders thrown in and I think I'll puke. (What the English aristocracy did to deserve a living, I'd like to know!)
What shocks me is how dispensable human life seems to be in the hands of these authors. They kill people as if it were nobody's business. Do real life murders happen with a fuse planted to go off at a certain time so that it sounds like a gun shot and gives the actual murderer an alibi since he used a silencer? And the author's laborious efforts to create false clues. Phoo. Don't get me started on that. Pathetic half hearted attempts!
And the total unconcern with which all the characters seem to treat the murder, as if it were an ordinary death, not the result of the workings of a crazed, demented mind, having toast and marmalade in their midst! And the dead man/woman is forgotten the next day. No wailing, no tears, no nothing. Don't Englishmen know how to mourn!
Murder in cold blood is not impossible, though quite rare going by newspaper reports, but I think it is impossible in a situation where the murderer knows that he is definitely going to be one of the suspects interviewed by the detective inspector in the blue room. Cold blooded murderers would be more likely to commit the murder on some deserted highway and catch the next plane out of the country.
Really, I should think a murder story would require a lot of emotional investment on the part of the author. If they are unwilling to put the effort they would be better off writing about the theft of the maharaja's precious diamond or something. But then again, if it is not murder it is not 'serious' enough a crime. What an irony. I remember while browsing in second hand stores, not able to judge from the cover what the book was about, I used to scan the pages looking hopefully for the word 'murder'.