I am not a detective

I like superheroes, so I like to imagine that, if I ever got superpowers, I would use them to become a superhero. I also like mysteries, so, in a similar way, I like to believe that if I did ever stumble upon a legitimate mystery, that I would try to solve it.

This idea of some average joe shmoe trying to solve a mystery is one that can be interesting to read about. Recently, I read a book called Before the Poison, which was an example of this. It wasn’t exactly a great book, but it wasn’t a terrible one either. But what I liked about it was that, to me, it was a somewhat accurate portrayal of what some average joe shmoe trying to solve a mystery would look like – his friends all think he’s crazy/obsessed (partially because the event in question happened decades ago), he only can do it because he’s retired and has a lot of time on his hands, and he isn’t wildly successful.

The main character liked to come up with different theories, and every single one of them was wrong. He’d make a guess, and the next piece of information he found would rule out that guess as a possibility. Again and again. It was kind of hilarious. I mean, at the end he basically solves it, but he has so much information at that point, that it would’ve been hard not to be able to.

It reminded me of a different book I had read, which I can’t remember the title of, where the guy investigating (also just some random dude) didn’t even come close to solving the mystery. He literally had to catch the bad guy red-handed and have him explain it to him how he did the crime and why, so he didn’t really even solve the mystery.

I would hope that if I did ever get the opportunity to solve a mystery, that I would handle it a little better than these guys, but honestly? I’m a lot of things, but unfortunately “detective” isn’t one of them. I would probably have just as much luck as these guys did. And while this is more realistic in my opinion, I sort of like it when the protagonist is actually successful and/or competent at solving mysteries, so I think I’ll try to stick with books where the mysteries are handled by people who know what they’re doing – or at least more hardcore amateurs. I mean, is it really detective work if you don’t beat a few people up along the way?

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