How Murder Mysteries Relate to the Paranormal

Guest Blog by Jackson Burnett


       America’s first great paranormal writer, Edgar Allan Poe, also created the modern detective story with the publication of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1843. The basic form of the murder mystery hasn’t since changed.

       How is it that the man who wrote of houses haunted by the sound of a beating heart and of doppelgängers and of otherworldly experiences also created that most rational story form, the murder mystery, and is the intellectual forefather of Hercule Poirot, Perry Mason, Miss Marple, and CSI?

       Here’s the short answer: Unless a death is the result of natural causes or obvious accident, the first question that has to be answered is whether the death was the result of the forces of evil or was it calculated to achieve a specific goal.

       If a homicide is calculated, the exercise of who did it and why is purely a rational one. If a homicide is a result of evil, it opens up the possibility that the death was the result of some extra-worldly spiritual force. Evil brings the possibility of the paranormal into the murder mystery.

       I prefer murder mysteries where the line is blurred between rationality and irrationality. I enjoy the intellectual exercise of trying to figure out whodunit but I like the richness added by the possibilities of the unknown.

       The Past Never Ends, my recently published legal mystery, takes a different approach than many murder mysteries. After being refused a public record regarding the death of Tanya Everly, a sex worker from the wrong side of town, Attorney Chester Morgan goes on a quest to determine what really happened to her and why.

       While The Past Never Ends does not employ the overtly paranormal, Attorney Morgan finds that his every rational method to discover the truth fails. Still, the truth comes out. Is it the result of a countervailing force for good from the beyond?

       Read it and let me know what you think.


Author Bio:

Jackson Burnett is a writer, lawyer, and amateur fiddle player who lives in a southwestern American city. He is a fan of the roller derby, Italian opera, and old-time country and roots music.

Burnett describes his legal mystery, The Past Never Ends, as “James Lee Burke meets Erle Stanley Gardner somewhere in Oklahoma.” Other influences include Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Larry McMurtry. He considers Florida noir writer, Vicki Hendricks, to be one of the most powerful authors writing today.

Besides mysteries, Burnett writes short literary fiction and essays.

The Past Never Ends is his first published novel. (source)


Thank you to author Jackson Burnett for a great guest blog! I have to say that I agree with what was said. Murder mysteries are always interesting for the reason that the reader has to find out who did it before the author finishes telling us the story, if we come across paranormal events it makes the mystery even better. In example, Seanan McGuire and her October Daye novels; you have to solve the murder mystery with a pinch of fairy dust.

Be sure to check out The Past Never Ends by author Jackson Burnett here!