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November 10, 2021

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I'm with you, and I have children who enjoy the mystery if no one is dead, but won't read it otherwise.... The Lord Peter shorts also have many non-body stories, as do the Rex Stout shorts and the Tommy & Tuppence stories from Agatha Christie. But the long form seems more given to bodies.

Huge fan of Dorothy Sayers (Gaudy Night!!) and Amanda Cross...

I read years ago about a concept which I remember as “plot inflation.” The idea is that if you’ve written one story with some characters and a world for them, there’s a strong sense that your next story has to “top” the previous one somehow. (I looked it up: Damon Lindelof, who has written a bunch of really boring movies where the characters have to save the world, calls the problem “story gravity.”) I can imagine a tendency towards plot inflation causing the mystery genre to get stuck in a murder-mystery rut.

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