Joan Mazza

We Love a Mystery

The novel opens with a corpse who isn’t anyone
we’ve come to know or care about, a character
dead before the action starts, no bloody violence
to make us close the book. We want to figure out
whodunit, taste red herrings and pore over every clue—
the cigarette butt on the patio, dropped handkerchief
with monogram. What fun to enter cobwebbed rooms,
hand-in-hand with the sleuth, a plucky ingénue who’s
fearless, clever. Though we started with Nancy Drew,
we grow into more complex plots where quirky
characters have backstories that explain photo collections
of reflections and taxidermied wolves. We love
scandals splashed across the headlines, love to say,
I knew it! We read in search of details that answer
questions, confident they’ll arrive before the ending—
biological parents revealed, lost sibling returned,
the true origin of hidden wealth. So unlike life
where people torch or take their secrets when they go,
leave no diaries or letters that would crack the riddle
you’ve spent a lifetime wishing you could know.  

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops nationally on dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Crab Orchard Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia and writes every day.