Next Tuesday, I’m thrilled to be reading in the library of Casa Loma in Toronto with Peter Robinson as part of Casa Loma and Crime Writers of Canada’s reading program. I'll be taking my copies of Peter's books along for him to sign. :)

Besides giving a short reading from Glitter of Diamonds, I’ll be taking questions from the audience about what I write and why I write it. Consequently, I’ve been doing some thinking about our fascination with murder.

I heard recently that books involving murder and other crimes are second only to romance in popularity. Programs such as CSI, Crossing Jordan, Cold Case, Dr. G. and about 20 others focus on forensics and real-life murder and such things. Why do we have this fascination with murder? Underneath our veneer of civility and niceness , are we all secretly wishing we could knock off our boss, our spouse, or our annoying next door neighbour? By reading these books and watching these programs, are we sublimating desires we’re afraid to act on?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I feel our love for murder has more to do with our desire for justice than an unacknowledged desire to take lives. I don’t know about you, but life in 2008 frequently leaves me feeling overwhelmed. Nonstop technological advances leave me shaking my head and thinking of becoming a hermit. The horror of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make me cringe. I have to change channels when the ads about animal cruelty come on. Hearing about the terrible things happening to innocent adults and children right here in Canada, or walking in downtown Toronto and see homeless people stretched out on the sidewalks make me feel helpless. There's so much evil and so much need. What can I possibly do to make difference?

What affects me may not affect you, and vice versa, but I suspect we are similar. And while it may sound trivial, in a world that often seems to be spinning out of control, I believe that reading a mystery or watching CSI replaces some of our insecurity by reminding us that there really is right and wrong, that the truth will eventually be found, and that good will ultimately prevail over evil.
Yes, there are concrete things we can all do to make a difference, such as giving money to ministries such as World Vision, Yonge Street Mission or the Humane society; writing letters; praying for specific people or simply for God's will to be done.

But we're each unique, too, and for some reason, I have all these characters and plots running through my head. Sometimes I wonder why I don't have momentous themes and how-to lists running through my head, but I don't. So I guess I'll keep writing books about murder in the hope that reading them will remind a few more people that there is Someone in control and that Truth will win in the end.

N. J. Lindquist
Blogs: What's On My Mind?
Blue Collar Writer

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