Let me apologize in advance that this blog is not meant to insult all the wonderful male writers and readers of mysteries, but…
Why are the majority of mystery writers and readers women? The easy answer might be that since woman buy more mysteries than men, woman writers are better able to provide what women are looking for in their stories. I say this because according to a recent study released by Sisters in Crime 68% of all mysteries are purchased by women.
Another answer might be the popularity of Cozy mysteries which we discussed in our last blog. Cozies are one of the largest sub-genres of mysteries and as we learned they feature an amateur detective that is usually a woman. We enjoy following a fellow woman who is in charge and capable of solving a complex puzzle.
But aside from our love of mysteries, I wonder if it doesn’t have more to do with the personality differences of men and women. Another recent study indicates emails from men are very short and to the point, while emails from women are much longer. I think this tendency to share more information benefits women when writing mysteries.
Mystery writing requires a complete story. We want a story that guides us from the beginning to the end. We want all of the facts and we want to know all the clues before the ending is revealed. We want to know how the pieces of the puzzle fit and we don’t like unanswered questions. Finally we want the ending to be logical with no surprises. And women seem to have the upper hand when working with lots of information and tiny details.
Women are also known for their caring and nurturing ways. As a result, we like to learn about the characters and get into their heads to understand what makes them tick. We like characters that we can identify with or at the very least understand why they act the way they do. And we’ll take a good character over violence, gory details and even suspense.
Then there is the emotional factor. Women are often accused of allowing emotions to prevail. But when it comes to mysteries women detectives often rely on their feelings and intuitive sense to solve the murder. We hold true to the principles of justice being served, however that doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings for the criminal. We want to understand their motives for the crime.
And last but not least, there is the murder. Since we must balance the principals of law with our emotions, mysteries help satisfy our desire to eliminate those who are evil. Maybe we have a secret desire to murder people we don’t like and mysteries help fulfill this need. It’s fun to come up with delicious ways to murder the victims. (Check out the word search puzzle blog “Methods of Murder” which offers multiple ways to eliminate someone.)
So these are my thoughts. What are your thoughts on why women buy, read and write more mysteries?