by Duelpad on DeviantART
One of my Beta Readers suggested that I include a scene summing up the story, as do many mystery writers. She is very well-read, quite bright, loves books, and has a library background including choosing which books to include in the libraries she worked for. So I have good reason to take her suggestion seriously.
Mystery writers have had long and illustrious careers producing just such summing up scenes. Agatha Christie comes immediately to mind. Her Hercule Poirot was forever gathering everyone into the parlor to explain who done it. And this is not a hidebound tradition abandoned to the dead-and-buried writers’ club. J.K. Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith employed it in The Cuckoo’s Calling. So it is still legitimate and still in good standing.
So I thought about it. Initially I had chosen not to have just such an explanation of the story. My favorite living, American author is John Irving. Yes, I know he doesn’t write murder mysteries, but aren’t all novels mysteries? If you know who done it and what they done in the first few pages, why would you read the whole thing?
What I like about Irving is that he trusts his readers to know what happens without spoon feeding it to them. Admittedly there have been times when I went back to see ‘When did that happen?’ only to find that he didn’t actually say that’s what happened, but obviously it did!
To me it’s like explaining a painting or a ballet or a poem or a joke. If the work is well-done, the audience will get it.
And my whole point in writing Murder on Ceres has been to write a book like I want to read. A murder mystery. A science fiction murder mystery.
Well, I’ve discovered that I want Murder on Ceres to be the kind of book other people will want to read. So traditions must be considered.
After having read The Cuckoo’s Calling, I decided it would be a good idea. The author’s summing up scene in no way offended me or interfered with my satisfaction at the end of my reading it.
I thought of two different scenes in which to do it, one of which would lead into my next book. But, I don’t want to do it. I added bits and pieces to the manuscript toward the end of the book that are pretty specific and will, I hope, take the place of a summing up scene.