Nothing Really Matters to Me*

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

ApathySome people respond to life’s stresses and strains by becoming completely apathetic. They give up, if you want to put it that way, and just don’t seem to be passionate about anything. Sometimes it’s due to a particular trauma. Other times it’s the result of a gradual wearing down of that ‘spark of life.’ Either way, those people ‘go through the motions’ without really participating in life. It’s not easy to create characters like that, actually. It’s hard to make them interesting and memorable. But there are plenty of them in real life, and we see them in crime fiction, too.

In Agatha Christie’s Five Little Pigs (AKA Murder in Retrospect), for instance, we learn about Caroline Crale. Sixteen years earlier, she was convicted of poisoning her husband, famous painter Amyas Crale. A year later, she died in prison. Her daughter Carla Lemarchant has always been convinced her mother…

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