Take this situation: you’re settling in your most comfortable reading spot (for me, this is my bed with fluffy cat at my side), you open a new mystery book. The pages are crisp, making you feel like you are the first to discover this story. Happy joy.
Okay, so you begin reading. The writing is nice. The main character intriguing. Then there’s the mystery—it’s introduced quickly, which you like. You’re digging this book, even though you’re only on page one.
You flip the page to number two. The mystery unfolds, aaaaand… you figure out the dunit. You pause. You pet the cat. Dammit, you think. I know the dunit.
You hesitate. Maybe you got it wrong. Maybe the dunit you think dunit, didn’t do it at all. Maybe this writer is so clever, she tricked you into thinking you’ve figured out the dunit, but really someone else dunit. An Ellery Queen twist. It’s possible. Your cat looks up at you, wondering why you stopped reading.
Okay. So do you continue reading?
You hesitate once more. Get up and find a beverage (hot chocolate seems appropriate for this particular drama). Get back in your favorite reading spot, where your cat now looks cranky, since you messed up his nap.
You pick up the book. Read page two once more. No, no doubt. You know whodunit, and even why. You’re pretty sure now, because this particular plot is not exactly original.
You finish your beverage. Then you commit the ultimate reader crime: you flip to the back. You feel a little guilty, but only a little. After all, there’s no point reading 250 pages if you already know where it’s going. Your to-read pile resembles the tower of Pisa after all, so time’s a-wastin’.
On page 230-something, right where you guessed the solution to this not-so-original plot would be, there it is. The dunit, who you guessed dunit, and even the why.
And that was how I sort of read Edgar nominee Torn to Pieces by Margot McDonnell. Sorry, Ms. McDonnell. Your writing is beautiful, for what it’s worth.