by Rob Lopresti
We who blabber regularly about writing often talk about how to start a book, or a story. And so we often give examples of great beginnings. Endings are important, too, but we are less likely to discuss endings – especially of mysteries. You know why. There’s a great taboo against revealing how a mystery ends.
But we at Criminal Brief are fearless and bow to no so-called rules and taboos. So brace yourself, because I’m about to bust the rules wide open. Ready? Here goes.
The endings of twenty great mysteries
- The statue was a fake.
- The doctor killed his patient.
- The head of the FBI comes to visit, but isn’t allowed in.
- The child is returned to her mother.
- The older cop asks the younger cop for spiritual advice.
- The hero reluctantly agrees to play golf with his sidekick.
- The hero leaves New York for Los Angeles.
- The hero prevents time travel from being invented. (Yes, it is a mystery.)
- The villain drowns in the mire.
- The villain is shot by the police and dies crawling forward, as if to attack his enemy one last time.
- The swindled thieves make a deal with their client’s enemy.
- The client’s wife comes home.
- The spies tried to squash the rumor that there was a mole in their midst to protect the enemy spy who was working for them, but there really was a mole in their midst.
- The femme fatale shoots a cop and the police shoot her dead.
- A policeman shoots the narrator dead.
- The detective frames the killer for what was actually a suicide.
- The judge did it.
- The detective did it.
- The client’s evil twin did it.
- All the suspects did it.
- Raskolnikov did it.