Today’s prompt (and the last prompt of the March Madness Meme) is:

“Do you prefer everything to be tied up in the end or would you rather be able to make up your own mind? What’s the worst/least satisfying end you’ve ever read? The best?”

For the most part, I like everything to be wrapped up clearly. Occasionally, a vague ending can be satisfying, like in an H. P. Lovecraft horror story or in Poe’s work, but in most other cases I want to know how it all ties together.

***SPOILERS BEGIN HERE***

The least satisfying ending that I’ve ever read was (rather ironically, given my statement above ) in Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue. As a reader, I went through all the trouble of sifting through clues and alibis of various tenants and witnesses, only to have the detective reveal additional clues that I wasn’t privy to at the very end which completely changed the outcome of the case! Instead of any of the people we had looked at over the course of the murder mystery, the murderer was a random escaped orangutan.

I really did feel jipped, mostly because I hadn’t been given all the information, therefore I couldn’t solve the case on my own. Over all, I felt like the entire story was just one big Red Herring – like Poe deliberately told us the wrong story to keep us from looking at the real one (which I wouldn’t put past him).

One chilling question did arise from this disappointing ending – since the orangutan was a skilled mimic of humans and it murdered the tenants of Ru Morgue very brutally, what was its owner like that it had learned to behave in such a way? And where was he?

***EVEN BIGGER SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT***

Mr. Perfect Book CoverThe best ending I’ve read was in Linda Howard’s Mr. Perfect. Over the course of this murder mystery, the killer picks the four main characters off one by one. Howard gives readers brief glimpses into the mind of the killer, who calls himself Corin, but never describes him physically. When Corin’s actual identity is revealed at the end (as a coworker who goes by a different name) it’s a huge surprise, but you know you should have seen it coming.

Through the detective character, you learn what the profile for the murderer is, and the coworker character fits that profile perfectly, but since the name (and a few other very key elements) are very different, the killer flies under the radar of the characters and readers alike. That is the best kind of ending, in my humble opinion. And I know I promised spoilers, but this reveal is so cool that I just can’t bring myself to completely ruin it by spelling it all out.

***END SPOILERS***

So, there we are. Best and worst endings of novels and the ending of the meme itself – a suitable wrap-up, I think!

My regular posting schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday will resume tomorrow.

 

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