Mystery novels

Reading a mystery novel you know as a general fact that you are being misled by appearances, but you are not certain specifically how it is happening. Ideally, everything must be hidden in plain sight, and there should be one and only one possible resolution. No essential fact may be withheld. No more than one resolution should be possible. All theories attempted by the reader should be overwhelmed by the truth revealed at the end. The truth should not become clear until the author reveals it in a conceptual vase-face. The whole book shifts its meaning at the end. Every significance must be reconsidered all at once, on the whole and in particular.

Borges loved the mystery novel genre.


Mystery novels are to philosophy what a roller coaster is to reckless driving on a mountain road. It’s a safer, cleaner and more linear simulation of something unsafe, dirty and nonlinear.

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