I’m a closet Perry Mason fan. I’ve probably seen all of the episodes a dozen times, and still I squealed with delight when my sweet fella got me Season Five as one of my Mother’s Day gifts.
I don’t know what it is about that show – and others like it – that is so . . . so . . . satisfying – yeah, that’s the word. I can be comfortable that, except for the fact that someone dies in every episode, the show is squeaky clean, so I don’t have to worry about my kids seeing it. I can also be sure of a tightly wound mystery with subtle clues (well, not-so-subtle when you’ve already seen them!) and happy endings. The characters are as shallow as a snakes belly, but I’m not looking for heavy drama or even a continuous story line. Just 45 minutes of lightly cerebral, dialogue-driven television that I don’t have to watch intently to enjoy.
I view books the same way. I’ve enjoyed some wonderful historicals, awesome suspense, and recently a sweet romance, but my favorite novels are basic whodunits with a little light romance on the side. Maybe it’s from growing up on Trixie Belden, Phillis A. Whitney, and Mignon Eberhart?
And I can find a plethora of those books in the mainstream genre with subject series focusing on flowers, holidays, cooking, travel – you name it. (My favorite is Denise Swanson’s Scumble River Series.) However, I have a hard time finding traditional mysteries in the Christian realm. I’ve found a few, like Mindy Starnes Clarks’ Smart Chick and Million Dollar Mysteries, but not many others. Oh there are other mysteries, but they fit the realm of suspense – a little edgier I guess?
So are traditional mysteries blase? If so, how come the mainstream market still puts them out by the truckload? Is it just the Christian market that doesn’t appreciate them so much? Or am I all wet?