Atmosphere, ambiance, mood

Sometimes I think the feel of a mystery is the most enjoyable part for me.  It stays with me the longest.; I forget plot elements long before I forget how it made me feel.

I’ve read many of the Maigret mysteries — thanks to the fact that more are being released, now, in U.S– lately.  Each of them made me feel the same.  It’s hard to describe, but very  addictive to me.  Dread, ambiguity, anticipation and acceptance mixed together to form something I probably have mistaken for very French or Belgian.  Mystery tinged with existential ennui?  As I said, very addictive.

At the moment, I’ve picked up a John D MacDonald.  I still love the old hardboiled detective novels.  Even if you’ve seen The Maltese Falcon  movie, you should read the book.  I was pleased to find out that Bogart’s Sam Spade was the Book’s Sam Spade. These stories possess that same existential acceptance of life.  There’s going to be trouble and it’s going to end badly, but what must be done, must be done,  C’est la vie .  This affects the protagonist far more than any of the other characters in the story because, usually, he was hired to obtain a happy outcome.  Generally the success of the hardboiled detective is accompanied by unhappiness, which might be considered failure.  So, for the hardboiled detective, success is failure and I find that a compelling reason to keep reading those novels.

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