Friday, May 27, 2011

Why We Love Mysteries by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Nancy Lynn Jarvis has been a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years. She owns a real estate company with her husband, Craig.

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News.  A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager of Shakespeare/Santa Cruz.

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is her newest adventure.  She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Details and ideas come from Nancy’s own experiences. 

Readers can read first chapters of books at Nancy's website  go to facebook and look at Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries

Why We Love Mysteries
by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Romance may currently top the list as the best selling genre for fiction and books with vampires are all the rage, but it’s easy to understand why mysteries are timeless mainstays in the world of fiction. Deep down, we are all amateur sleuths.

I’m not saying we spend our days with a magnifying glass in hand looking for clues a la Sherlock Holmes, but we do solve little mysteries regularly and it’s satisfying when we do.

Recently my mom began acting confused and complained she couldn’t sleep. I could have chalked her problems up to her age, but the innate mystery solver in me decided to do a little investigating. It turns out she changed insurance companies at the start of the year. Further sleuthing led to the discovery that her new provider sent her medicine before her old prescription ended. Her new pills treated the same condition and were the same dosage as her previous medicine, but they looked different and had a different name. Without realizing it, she began taking twice her prescribed dose of hypo-thyroid medication. The result was a 93 year old on speed.

When I figured out what was happening and spoke to her physician about it, she congratulated me for having solved a mystery. “Hey, I don’t write mystery novels for nothing,” I laughed, but what I did could have been done by any of us.

We’re all mysteries solvers in our day-to-day lives. Reading mysteries just raises our ordinary experiences to a higher level and lets us have fun seeing if we can solve the mystery before the protagonist does. Often we can, and don’t we feel clever when we do?

Solving a mystery is like solving a logic puzzle—Sudoku on steroids— and if that isn’t fun enough, mysteries can give a reader — or me as a writer — an excuse to delve into a world of fascinating but unsettling things like decomposition, accidental mummification, and how ligature strangulation and death by hypothermia work. When we look at clues and read details about murder, we get to be like a four-year-old playing with rubber dinosaurs: the game is especially enjoyable because we control what might otherwise give us nightmares.  

Mysteries let us share the sleuth’s shoes for a time. From the safety of our favorite reading spot, we get to be daring, crafty, and quick. We get to outwit the murderer within three-hundred pages.

Mysteries offer readers another perk. Not many of the problems we encounter in today’s complex world are easily and cleanly resolved. Mysteries, however, at least the kind I like and write, end with the bad guy getting caught and with justice being served. There’s not much in life that’s more satisfying than that.

Fala, our cat, in her usual summer outpost. This is where she goes when she isn't helping me write and explains why we can't have water in out courtyard fountain


Deborah Sharp said...

Congrats on the successful medical sleuthing, Nancy (though I am enjoying the mental image of a 93-year-old on speed!) Nice post.
Deborah Sharp
Author Mace Bauer Mysteries

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

Thanks Deborah. Thank you, too, Kaye for having me on your blog.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Nancy - Welcome!!

I love your philosophy about people trying radically new and different things, and I SO agree! There are so many new and delightful things to be learned and embraced.

Bonnie K. Winn said...

Great expression of why we love mysteries. Your experiences give an undeniable authenticity to your books!

Bonnie K. Winn
Author and girl with Southern roots

Camille Minichino said...

I love your insight into all the little mysteries we solve every day!

Cindy Sample said...

As far as I'm concerned you're never too old to play Nancy Drew, either in your armchair or in everyday living. Your mother must be thrilled to have an amateur sleuth in the family. My 83 year old mother was on prednisone for awhile. I was afraid she would start doing backflips in the living room. Thanks for the great guest post.

kt said...

Oh, Fela looks just like my Soot who died on April 1 after 14 years of loving companionship! She is beautiful.

I agree that there is fun in the solving and satisfaction if you figure it out before the end. I also use them to fight dementia so I can get to be 93,even if I mistakenly wind up speeding. In addition, when I'm ensconsed in my special reading chair in winter or reading nook in summer, I am carried off to another world and the time just flies--but then that happens in any good book I am reading, mystery or otherwise.

Morgan Mandel said...

I hate it when they give a new generic and don't mention it.
By the way I was hyperthyroid once but got the radioiodine treatment.
While I was hyperthyroid I had lots of energy and ate lots but still lost weight.
Great while it lasted.
Morgan Mandel

Nancy Lynn Jarvis said...

What was that again, Morgan; I'm taking notes. Is it dangerous and how do I develop it? LOL

Earl Staggs said...

Nancy, you explained very well why I read and write mysteries. Thanks and best wishes.