It’s busy, there is a lot happening. But it is kinda dark, and there are criminal elements scurrying in the shadows.
I’m talking about the world of a mystery novel. A least a lot of them. And there is the heroic detective, who is flawed and isn’t perfectly groomed, but he’s going to figure out the mystery and catch that bad guy.
Because we need to get back to regular. Regular is not perfect, but people have to be able to live their lives. Even criminals have to make a living, but keep it under control.
I picked up Rules of Prey by John Sandford this week and lived in this world for a few days. It had been a while since I’d visited.
I was a bit horrified to be in the mind of a torturous woman-hating serial killer, but there were some other female characters I admired. Women were more than prey.
And that brave and clever detective had to work very hard to catch the killer and make things right. Well, as right as they could be. Get things back to normal. Normal was flawed, but we could work with it.
And it struck me: this world could be a metaphor for how a
lot of men are. Not every man, but many would find that paradigm as ideal.
Fix the big problem. No one is going to be happy all the time, but the big issues have to be dealt with and eliminated. It is a very conservative ideal. Just keep things the same. It’s fine. Keep things at fine.
This is not exclusively male. Women read mysteries too.
The book genre that almost no men read? ROMANCE. Romance novels are for the ladies. Ladies really love them. I’ve read my share, even though it’s not my first pick.
Romance novels are trying to shake things up. The story begins with a woman who wants more, even if she doesn’t know it. There is a status quo, but it MUST be upset every time by a relationship. The heroine will fall in love. There will be a great disturbance in the usual flow of things: a passion with a new person.
The story aspires for something. In the world of the romance novel things are always in need of an upgrade: a new love.
I have decided this is an essential difference between men and women. Women are always trying up upgrade things in little ways. You know what this old desk needs? A scented candle! Always something.
Not a complete revolution, not necessarily. But while men are walking the beat, like a detective in the books, checking to make sure things don’t go too far out of line, women are looking around for how to make things just a little better.
It seems to fit.