Let’s Call It What It Is

It’s murder.  That’s what we love to read and that’s what crime fiction writers write.  But have you ever wondered about all the euphemisms we have for murder and death?  There’s a whole bunch.

There are the obvious ones – Uncle Herbert passed on or maybe Uncle Herbert passed over.
And then of course we have these —
He bought the farm
He’s pushing up daisies
He met his maker
He kicked the bucket
He’s gone to his heavenly reward and if Uncle Herbert was a complete scoundrel then we can assume he’s now roasting in hell!

So that led me to wondering why we’re all so fascinated with crime fiction, no matter the genre, whether we read it or whether we write it.
Is it the puzzle itself?  How many people in the mansion had access to the elderberry wine?
The whodunit?  Any one of the sewing circle could have skewered the victim when no one was looking.
Is it the scary thrills and chills of suspense?  Is my husband really who he says he is?
Is it the determined hunt we find in forensics and police procedurals?  Or is it all of these?

I know why I find it so fascinating.  It’s the psychology of the act.  The burning thing that drives an ordinary person to commit murder.  The exploration of the mind of an absolutely normal, everyday person who finds himself or herself in dire straits and doesn’t see any other way out.  I’m not talking about serial killers here.  They’re just completely nuts.  They need to be locked up forever so they won’t hurt anyone.  But the fascinating thing for me is the inner workings of the mind of an average human being pushed beyond the pale.

What about you?  Why do you read crime fiction – whatever the genre?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post first appeared at A Blue Million Books on June 25, 2018.

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