Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Truth and Mystery

It could be the beginning of a P.D. James novel, or perhaps a Julia Spencer-Fleming mystery or a brutal Robert Fate revenge tale. A 61-year-old female pastor is found murdered inside her own tiny Oklahoma church, where she has been, apparently, praying. The district attorney claims that the murder is the most horrific he has seen in his 20-year career. There are no suspects.

A reader might look at a set-up like this and decide they want to read the book in order to get answers. Who would kill a pastor? Who would brutalize a 61-year-old woman? Why? And why kill her in her tiny church? What possible motive could there be? Yes, this would make a fascinating piece of fiction.

But this story is true, and it helps to explain why the True Crime genre is so popular. We still have questions, and we still want them answered; the only difference is that in fiction, they are generally answered to our satisfaction. In cases like this one, the questions are sometimes never answered at all.

(Image link here).