Reading murder mysteries



Question: I enjoy reading murder mysteries. I like seeing how the detectives work through the clues to solve their cases. Many of these stories contain graphic violence and sexual elements in these crimes.

Is it a serious sin to read these types of stories? (When I ponder this, I recall that even the Old Testament has very similar instances.) (Wichita, Kansas)

Answer: I suspect, by the fact that you even raise the question, that you are committing no sin in reading murder mysteries. The key question has to do with why you are reading these books. If you were reading them to glory in the violence or to focus on and take pleasure in the sexual descriptions, then that would certainly be a concern.

But you have told me that your interest, instead, is to guess and observe how the detectives will weigh the clues. Here is what you might do: If you are unsure about your motives in reading such mysteries, you might consult with a priest or a spiritual counselor to help you sort that out. But my guess would be that you are doing nothing wrong.

Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203.