Thursday, 7 December 2006

Do you read crime fiction? Do you write crime fiction? Well, how's your self-esteem?

Ohio State University academic, Dr Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, has looked at the personalities of crime readers and discovered that those with low self-esteem didn't enjoy tales with surprise endings.
“People with low self-esteem like to feel they knew all along who committed the crime, probably because it makes them feel smarter.”

Seems harsh. But fair.

I'm hopeless at working out whodunit in a well-plotted story. I just go along for the ride. The story-telling is more important to me than the twists and turns—especially if they're signposted. (You know, the clumsy scenes where the murderer is onstage but the author carefully avoids using third person pronouns. That'd be a female murderer, then. Ooh, what a devious twist.)

But crime and mystery fiction is more than whodunits. The genre is ripping its stitches with subgenres and cross-overs and all sorts of subtle variations. I wonder whether there's any difference in personality between readers of specific types of stories? Sorry, I'm getting away from the topic.

I'm thinking the good doctor's right on this bit:
Overall, Knobloch-Westerwick said mysteries probably appeal more to people who enjoy thinking more than average.

You can read the whole article at the Ohio State University research news page.

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