November 16, 2017
An alluring feature of good mystery novels is that they tend to be engrossing. Often, while reading mystery novels, curiosity gets the better of us and we can’t help ourselves from taking a quick peek at the last chapter of the book. Many a time, I’ve scrambled through to the last pages of a book with sweaty fingers and then quickly turned back to my original page fearing I’d read too much.
One of the leading factors that draw us to mystery novels is the adrenaline rush that comes from reading them. However, over the years, this genre of books has come to mean a lot more to me. Many of these books have helped me get through some of my most trying days. Whether it was dealing with a broken heart, recuperating from an illness, or surviving the loneliness of the first few months of moving to a new city, mystery novels have kept me company.
A couple of years ago when I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I was intrigued by how cleverly multiple narratives were used and the complex, layered character of the protagonist that seemed terrifyingly real. I felt lucky I was not Nick Dunne! While reading mystery and suspense novels, I often have a habit of placing myself in the protagonist’s shoes and compared to what they were experiencing, my problems always seemed smaller.
If you’ve grown up with siblings or cousins, you may have learned the hard way that reading mystery novels comes with the risk of another person giving away the ending “just for fun” or for the sole purpose of picking a fight. When we are excited, thrilled, or scared, our brain releases dopamine and this helps strengthen the bonds among people sharing the same experience. Although I was always close to my cousins, our time spent reading mystery novels together, sharing similar feelings of nervousness and later, relief as the plot unfolded, has helped us develop a stronger bond. It helped us not only to know a different side of each other but also made us feel like we shared a little piece of another world.
Check out Prarthana’s favourite mystery novels.
Prarthana Banikya is a graduate in Sociology from Miranda House with a certificate in poetry. She spent her formative years in the valleys of Northeastern India from where she draws inspiration for most of her writing. Her work has been featured in several journals including Aaduna, Asia Writes, Aerogram, Danse Macabre, Poetry Super Highway, Namnai, and Pratilipi. In 2016, she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry and in 2018, was the recipient of the Orange Flower Award for poetry. She blogs at prarthanabanikya.blogspot.in.
You can read her articles here.