Whiskers on Kittens

Vindication. Comeuppance. Schadenfreude.

These are a few of my fav-o-rite things!

Admit it. You like them, too. Maybe not as much as brown paper packages tied up with string or raindrops on roses, but still, quite a lot.

Maybe that’s why I like crime fiction so much. With very few exceptions, the white hat wins and the black hat loses. Justice is served. Righteousness triumphs.

Unlike in real life.

I can’t begin to count all the times I’m reading news reports about one crime or another — major or minor, funny or serious — and the complete opposite outcome happens as I want and/or expect.

Have you ever seen a skunk stamp its feet getting ready to spray? That’s exactly how I look when I read such a report. And then I spray. Luckily for my husband it’s words I spew instead of, um, something indelicate.

Or maybe I look like Yosemite Sam.

yosemite-sam.png

 

But it just makes me so grumpy!

cat

Because I’ve lived many, many years now, I know to take a deep breath, sure in the knowledge that my universe will be right once again, just as soon as I pick up my novel … either the mystery I’m reading or the one I’m writing.

Is it just me or do you read mysteries and crime fiction as a way to create some psychological vigilantism in your life?

(I wanted to ask if you knew how many of those exceptions are out there where the bad guy wins in crime fiction, but I can’t figure out how to do so without giving any spoilers! So let’s just say there are fourteen examples. That sounds about right.)

 

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Author: Becky Clark

I write funny cozy mysteries and spend my free time attempting to rid my clothing of dog hair, making purses and things out of rescued books, and plastering silly sayings on t-shirts and other products you simply can't live without.

20 thoughts on “Whiskers on Kittens”

  1. Being able to make sure the right guy goes away for the crime for the right period of time is definitely a reason to write crime fiction.

    I can think of one big example of the bad guys getting away with it (well, the detective found out, but still). I’m sure there are more noir stories that fit this mold.

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  2. Oh, I hate it when the bad guy gets away with the crime. Well, maybe not always. It does depend on the crime, and the motive too. There are times. You all know what I’m thinking about, right?

    But evil, gritty, cruel, hurtful, hateful crime. The perp must go down!

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    1. We should make up a code so we can talk about books without giving spoilers. “That book where THE PURPLE got away with it by EGG SALAD SANDWICH because the hero KALEIDOSCOPE EYES.”

      You know the one, right??

      Liked by 1 person

    1. To be honest, I can’t think of a book where the bad guy got away with something that made me mad. The few I can think of could really only end the way they did. Otherwise, THAT might have made me mad. Just goes to show authors can’t win … and there’s a book out there for everyone!

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  3. I agree with you, Becky! I feel like reading fiction is a way to make sense of the world, where crimes aren’t always wrapped up with a neat little bow. There are definitely examples where the bad guy gets away with their crime(s), usually in noir or stories more reflective of real life. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I guess if I always want to know the ending first, then I better stick to reading true crime! Although, I’ve had experiences reading true crime where I KNOW how it ends, but I’m still on the edge of my seat. That there is good writing!

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  4. You are correct Becky, the reason I read crime fiction is that I know that somehow, by the end, someone will will pay. Now, it isn’t always the “bad” guys because sometimes (as in life) pretty much every character has some aspect of “bad.” The thing I really appreciate about crime fiction is that there is an end, good, bad, or mixed, there is always an end. Not everyone lives happily ever after; some people don’t live at all, but there is an end. Even in continuing stories, one ends as another begins. Time passes; people grow and change; something “good” happens, even if it is not the way I think it should have happened.

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    1. That’s very true. In crime fiction there is always a conclusion, hopefully one that’s logical (even if you don’t agree with it) and not telegraphed so it’s a surprise. And I don’t know about you, but I like the little teasers dropped about upcoming books in a series. I often play the game “Will I See This Again?” trying to guess continuing minor characters and situations.

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      1. I don’t like books that are “linear.” If I can figure out what happened after a few chapters, there is no motivation for me to read the rest. Life is full of surprises, ans books should be as well. I also like little teasers but not ones that distract from the “case at hand.” I like authors to take a character with a hidden past/secret/story and expand in in a future book. I like to think that people in books are as real as the people I meet in the grocery store, and I KNOW some of them have strange, unusual, even creepy lives judging by what they buy.

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        1. I get what you’re saying but don’t entirely agree. In some crime fiction, you know fairly soon who the bad guy is, can pretty much guess the end result, but still enoy the cadence of the story so much you want to keep reading. At least that’s the way it is for me.

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          1. Yes, there are certainly times when the reader knows all about the players, but then the real story is the mystery or the chase for the other characters. Not everyone knows all about everything right from the start. Sometimes it is even the response to the “event” or the impact of the event that is the main point. Nevertheless there is always something, some twist or turn, left to discover as one reads the pages.

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  5. There are times when I want the bad guy to get away with it — but that’s usually when the author has done a good job of creating a sympathetic villain. But there is nothing quite like a cop or detective getting justice. That’s my favorite.

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