I also agree with Jim. In Hilary Waugh's great police procedural Last Seen Wearing... there is no question of guilt, only the question as to developing the evidence to arrest the suspect. Even pure puzzle writers like Rex Stout seemed to depart from the strict mystery form as time went on.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 22:19
Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Review of "Best American Mystery Stories 2009"
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Douglas G." <crippenlandru@...> wrote:
> No, Jim, I don't limit "mystery" to "whodunit," but I do think that a mystery story must have some mystery to be solved or resolved -- otherwise, it could be anything at all.
I am not sure I agree. In Fredric Brown's The Lenient Beast, which I reread recently (and a fine novel it continues to be), the game is given away early on, explicitly. The question is whether/how/when/if the culprit will be captured. In other words, there is suspense, plenty of it, but no mystery. And this device of giving the game away and then starting some sort of chase or other suspense mechanism has been used many times.
In this one, I think I agree with Jim.
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