In true mysteries, like those my host here writes, the focus is on solving something unexplained: a murder, a disappearance, a theft. The mysteries that we love the best and want to follow as series also include enough about the main character to make them real and memorable for us. Once they have solved the problem of the day, we wonder what else might lie ahead for them and look for the next book.
Frequently, mystery novels involve solving a murder, but not always. Janet Greger’s Ignore the Pain involved cocaine smuggling and the sabotage of an expensive research experiment. Another example is Alexander McCall Smith’s popular series set in Edinburg, Scotland, featuring Isabel Dalhousie who edits a philosophy journal and lives a pretty quiet life. But somehow important works of art seem to disappear regularly and she manages to get involved and to sort it all out between putting out issues of her journal.
In a biography I wrote about Navajo politician and activist Annie Dodge Wauneka called I’ll Go and Do More, I had to stick to the truth of her life. But I tried to end each chapter at a point where she had to make a difficult choice or something important either would or would not happen to affect her goals. Little mysteries.