I wanted to get my Mom some books for Mother's Day this year, and she reads mysteries. She has 3 criteria:
1. She wants the main character to be about her age.
2. She doesn't like gore.
3. She's an intelligent, well read person, so she'd like something written well.
So there I am out of my league in B&N, far far away from the YA section, wandering through the genre mystery shelves of paperbacks wondering: Why are dogs and cats solving all the mysteries when my dog can't solve the mystery of "how did the food get in my bowl"?
Apparently I have been training him wrong. Because if the B&N shelves are any indication, I should own a shop in a beachfront community and solve mysteries with him. I have now learned that if you want to find out who murdered your ex-boyfriend or your niece's ex-husband, you need to find a bake shop, book shop, sewing shop, and/or herbalist and appeal directly to the owner's cat or dog.
My mother's not a big animal person, at least not to the point of trusting them with hidden family secrets, so I needed to expand my scope. I read the blurbs for the books with younger protagonists (in their 20s, say) but they were the same blurbs, really. Oh, the poodles were switched with demons or angels or werewolves, and the shops sold fashion accessories, but they were the same.
So I read the blurbs for the novels with male main characters. Now I can't sleep because I'm convinced that the President is being hunted by a serial killer who weaves lawn chairs out of people's intestines.
I know there are wonderful, well-written mysteries being written every day. I'm just not sure Barnes and Noble, our new overlords, are stocking them. But I reminded myself that everyone feels adrift when they wander into the shelves of an unfamiliar genre. There are probably people who shake their head in the Sci Fi/Fantasy shelves, muttering "Dragons! How can there be this many books about dragons?!"
And I would say, no, they're not all about dragons, it just looks that way. I can help you find some really great books. You just have to know your way around.
Hey, has anyone written a novel about a dragon who solves mysteries? I might be on to something here.
-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages