More Marrow for Your Rose Beds? A Mysterious Analysis

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After watching various crime and cop shows like Elementary, Psych, X-Files, and NCIS and reading Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie narratives, the formulas and patterns of mystery become impossible not to notice. Stories usually start with a character seeking investigative expertise of the detective; stories start with travel to a new setting where a murder is revealed following the detective’s brief lounging with the mystery’s central characters. There’s always a problem that needs solving, usually done through witness-questioning and clue-searching. Once you have a handle on these patterns, finding ways in which authors subvert these patterns is all the more fascinating. I began thinking that I would apply this philosophy to the newly released standalone novel by Tana French entitled The Witch Elm. I wanted to see if French crossed the boundaries of the typical mystery or if she stayed within its lines.

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