It’s safe to say that murder mystery fiction has a rich and enthralling history. From the carefully crafted characters of Agatha Christie to the mystery and intrigue woven by Raymond Chandler, stories of murder and consequences have fascinated us all for generations.

The murder mystery has firmly permeated societal culture, and entertained us all for generations. The board game, Clue, is the second highest selling board game of all time. Television dramas riddled with immersive plots, whodunits that keep our attention firmly fixed on the events unfolding in front if our eyes, and engaging murder mystery weekends have never been more popular.

So, where does our fascination with murder mysteries stem from?

One of the oldest biblical stories recounts the story of murder most foul. Cain’s killing of his brother, Abel, is one of the oldest known murder stories. The motives and repercussions of the act are explored in the story.

All great stories provide true escapism from the routine of everyday life. Murder mystery tales, however they’re told, make us appreciate how precious life really is and, that in the grand scheme of things, the stresses are hardly worth expelling the amount of energy that we tend to do throughout times of stress in our lives.

Another prominent reason for our fascination with death is associated with the fundamental meaning of life, what happens when we die? Explored in religions the world over, the afterlife remains a mystery, with opinions divided between the scientific and religious communities. There is, simply, no definitive answer. The mystery of the great unknown has fascinated academics and free-thinkers alike throughout recorded history.

Murder mysteries appeal to both professional and amateur sleuths. Today, many crimes have remained unsolved, and those with an inquisitive mind and eye for details devote a great deal of their lives to solving such riddles. It’s the challenge that appeals.

The good news for those that enjoy solving the mystery is that the murder mystery as a story in its various guises isn’t going anywhere. Best-selling fiction, television programmes, movies providing marvellous escapism and murder mystery weekends are as popular today as they’ve ever been.

Why all the fascination with murder mystery? We suspect that’s it’s the intrigue, combined with the opportunity for anyone to immerse themselves into a whole new world, and to use intellect to solve a seemingly baffling crime.

Filed under: Murder and Intrigue

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