One of my favourite genres when it comes to all media, books and games is anything to do with mystery. While I am less fond of horror, mystery has always been something that I have loved since I first encountered it. I have long loved the tails of Holmes and Watson or Poirot and Hastings, problems with far-flung conclusions and they always seem to have it right, although some do not have shame when they do not know. After having read some of the most notorious of mystery novels, I wonder what the earliest mystery novels were.
So what is classified as a mystery novel. Well it is often a novel that follows a crime. This can be a murder or a dissapearance. The mystery elements is often about the discovery of the perpetrator of this crime through following a series of clues that are discovered by the main character and in turn the mystery is in part solved by the reading audience who become wrapped up in discovering it and they read and they read until they reach the solution alongside the lead. I have been one to fall down this rabbit hole of mystery, satiated by nothing but a breadcrumb that will lead, eventually to a great conclusion, whether that conclusion be happy or otherwise.
So where do these kinds of novels start? Well one of the first noted mystery stories was written by Edgar Allan Poe as a primary story in a collection. This story was called The Murders in the Rue Morge. Set in Paris, it follows the story of C. Auguste Dupin who, while not an actual detective by profession, is the detective and main character within this narrative. The mystery in question involves the slaughter of two women and while at the scene, Dupin finds a non human hair that all the more complicates the mystery. A clear breadcrumb in this unravelling mystery. Although Dupin is the primary character of the story, he is not the narrator. As has become mystery novel trope, his close personal friend is the narrator of the story. Although unlike in descended narratives, such as Hastings and Watson, this narrator and companion remains unnamed throughout the novel.
I wonder why it is that the human mind is drawn to mystery and intrigue in the way that it is. We become consumed by the unknown and it draws us to the answers and the clues that lead us too them. I think that it is the mysteries in life that can help to make it interesting. We go through life looking for the answers and that is what could be what is the driving force.