By Margaret Lucke
One thing I like about reading crime fiction is that no matter what mood I'm in, there is a mystery novel out there to suit me.
For instance, if I'm feeling happy and lighthearted, then a comic novel or a cozy mystery might be just the thing. But that also might be the time to enjoy something darker -- a thriller, a hardboiled detective story, a noir tale -- since I'm less susceptible to the fear or sadness that the story could evoke.
Suppose I've got the grumps or the blues. In that case an upbeat book might be just what I need to lift my spirits. But a grim story can often do that too. After all, most of the victims in crime novels -- and often the protagonists and the villains, for that matter -- are going through situations far worse than anything I'm subject too.
If I'm reading a novel and find I'm not in the mood for it, I have no problem with setting it aside and picking up a different one. Fairly often I consume what I think of as a reading sandwich -- I'll set down a book when I'm half done with (the first slice of bread), read a different book all the way through (the filling), and then return to the first one (the bread on top). Now and then, I admit, the sandwich is open-faced, in that I never return to the original book, no longer being in a receptive mood.
What's important to me is a book that pulls me in and immerses me fully in the story. It has been said that the purpose of fiction is to give readers an emotional experience. When a story pulls me deep inside its world and gets me fully involved in what's happening there, then whatever is going in my real life fades away.
I'm always in the mood to read a really good book.