There’s nothing better than a good old yarn. A good old-fashioned yarn. The issue is they can take forever. It’s especially painful when you can see the ending coming. There’s nothing more pointless than reading a mystery that you know how to solve.
This list will hopefully put a stop to these mystery woes. Here are some yarns that’ll engage you but end before they overstay their welcome.
1. ‘Sredni Vashtar’ by Saki
‘Sredni Vashtar’ tells the tale of a sickly little boy, Conradin, who concocts a theology around a god named Sredni Vashtar. Sredni Vashtar is a ferret. Having to deal with his overbearing cousin, Mrs. De Ropp, Conradin asks Sredni Vashtar to interfere. Interfere the ferret does. Give this little, darkly humorous mystery a read, and let us know if Sredni Vashtar’s found a new acolyte in you.
2. ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ is the first Holmes short story (though it’s the third story featuring Holmes, following the novels A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four), and might be the most well-known. This one follows Holmes meeting his match in American opera singer Irene Adler, whose had previous liaisons with the now-engaged King of Bohemia. When Adler threatens to release compromising photos of the king to his soon-to-be in-laws, in comes Holmes to save the day. Except, problems arise. You know how stories work: conflict, etc. Give this classic mystery a read!
3. ‘Continuity of the Parks’ by Julio Cortázar
Cortázar’s little mystery will reverberate big time in its readers’ minds. When a swamped businessman picks up a book he’d gotten distracted by, the events of the story bleed into his real life. At the risk of stepping on the story’s toes, I’ll hold off on any further summarizing. Take a few minutes and read it. Be prepared to scratch your head, and, then, when you’re done scratching, scream.
4. ‘Death and the Compass’ by Jorge Luis Borges
Image Via Minetest Forum
Among Borges’s many interests (infinity, God, etc.), one that might seem peculiar is his love of mystery stories. ‘Death and the Compass’ follows Holmes-esque detective Lonnrot as he tries to uncover the culprit behind a series of seemingly unrelated murders. As the evidence begins pointing to a secret, religious motivation, Borges twists the mystery in a wholly unpredictable direction. This one will worm into your brain, and you may not read mysteries the same way again.
5. ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ by Edgar Allan Poe
Admittedly, your commute might have to be a little long to finish this on your way to work. Still, this Poe tale is a classic. This story’s about two insane siblings who put their friend in the middle of their messed up relationship. There’s a botched burial, some heightened senses, and a house that’s apparently alive. One of the big twists might be a little predictable, but the very ending will split your brain in two.