I've spent much of my life reading mysteries - from Nancy Drew as a child to Agatha Christie as a teenager, to P.D. James and Greg Rucka and Dick Francis as an adult. I love mysteries, especially mysteries that are about relationships - which is what all of the writers I've mentioned excel at.
Just today I've discovered a new writer - Donna Leon - who writes mysteries set in Venice, one of my favorite places in the world. She's definitely going on my list, and there aren't that many mystery writers left on it. Her protagonist - Guido Brunetti - is a member of the Venetian police department which is, of course, a part of the Italian government. In this book - A Venetian Reckoning - Guido battles not just against the murderer but against his despair. He despairs that everyone in the Italian government is corrupt; he despairs that the world around him has changed so much that he can no longer live in it; he despairs that ... well, let me just say that there is a lot of despair on Guido's part. But his young daughter and his wife convince him that the world isn't quite as bad as he thinks, he solves the murders, and the world, as always in a mystery, is restored to order.
I think that's one of the reasons we love to read mysteries (and romances, for that matter). Because the world is a complicated place, chaotic, frightening - and becoming more so - and so when we read a book, we like to know that the world within that back will be restored to order.
I re-read my favorite mysteries. I re-read Jane Austen. And I do this especially when I'm tired or busy or things aren't going that well. I do this, I think, because I know that order will be the end result and that order is very satisfying.
How many of you re-read books or choose to read a new book by an author you're familiar with when you're tired rather than take a risk on a new author? I certainly do. I've told you some of the people I read in that circumstance - here are a few of the others:
Mary Jo Putney
I could go on and on but these are just a few of the books that reassure me that there really is order in this chaotic world