Friday, November 2, 2007

The Case of the Mystery Volume

If you've received Select Editions Volume 6 of 2007, you'll know that once again we have put together an all-mystery volume. We started doing this annually a couple of years ago, for what we thought was a very good reason: When readers tell us what kind of books are their favorites, they overwhelming say mysteries. Mysteries are the number one genre at Select Editions, and if you look at the bestseller lists over a period of time, they seem to be the number one genre, period. I could go through a whole made-up litany why, but to tell you the truth, I don't really know. Because, let's face it, mysteries within the genre are not identical.

There's procedurals and locked-door puzzles and cozies and gloomy Scandinavians and historicals where the detective is anyone from the Pharaohs to someone real who happened to live around the same time as Sherlock Holmes (who didn't, in fact, live, but try to tell that to some people) and who gets involved with the Baker Street investigator by accident. There's young detectives and old detectives and kid detectives and undead detectives and hard-drinking detectives and teetotaler detectives and religious detectives. There's sexy mysteries and funny mysteries and literary mysteries and science fiction mysteries. There's mysteries where you find out who did it, mysteries where you know who did it and you find out why, mysteries where you know who and why but not how, mysteries where you know who, why and how, but not when. Or where. Or sometimes even if! There's mysteries filled with series characters and mysteries that stand alone. There's mysteries, in other words, in every shape, form and size imaginable.

Maybe that's why we like mysteries. Because we never know what they're going to be like. Because, well, they're always a mystery.


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