August 7, 2012 by Marcus Speh
The sudden disappearance of my coffee shop where they also roasted and ground the coffee that I drank at home while writing has thrown me into a deep crisis of identity. At the same time it’s getting colder. Summer this year seems over before it has properly begun. During the day I stroll through libraries and bookshops searching for good crime stories keeping my eyes open for murders and victims. I find out that most popular contemporary form of crime story is called the “pathology thriller”. It has got nothing to do with Van Dine’s 20 rules or Chandler’s 10 commandments on how to write good mystery. Mysteries are thin on the ground in these thrillers, because they’re written to thrill only. Plot and character serve as a thin veneer covering blood trails. The only point of this literature seems to be the celebration of death in one way or another. I must be missing the point.I feel like a lover, who is looking for a particular, but common flower, a very elementary thing: after all it’s a flower. A thing of natural beauty. How hard can it be to find it? It’s not been rare before. However, all florists tell me: nobody else wants this flower anymore. And when I asked them don’t you find it beautiful? They respond: beauty is not the point of the flower. And when I insist and want to know what is the point of a bouquet if you can’t pick the flower, they ignore me. Their main justification is that now they sell more flowers than before. They have in fact replaced the flower by something else, which is alien to me. Perhaps an invasion has occurred and all the flowers have been replaced by something else that is ugly and functional.
Such are the thoughts that come up when I traverse the shops looking for good crime literature. Wasn’t Les Fleurs du Mal the title of a collection of poems by Baudelaire? Am I perhaps looking for that flower of evil? But I can’t find it. I feel though that a mere blood bath is no substitute.