Just finished reading Henning Mankell's The Man Who Smiled. There is always so much more in the books than in the television versions, good that they are. It is interesting, the huge number of detective books and dramas on offer right now, from the ongoing popularity of Agatha Christie to the relatively newly discovered Stig Larsson. What they all share is that the narrative, no matter how complex, is sorted out by the end of the book. In fact solving a conundrum is the end of the narrative. In Mankell most of the police wander about in a Swedish fog, pursuing dead ends, being sad, working to overcome personal difficulties, not being able to work because of personal difficulties, generally going nowhere other than collecting a lot of disconnected material and then at the 11th hour the focus sharpens and it all falls together. In real life things rarely fall together. Narratives drift, like dreams, into new stories, none of which ever really end. Perhaps this is why detective fiction is so popular: the genre guarantees that the story will end. How attractive. There is retribution, there is payback, I like it. It doesn't often happen
Early detectives - Holmes, Poirot, Whimsy - shot straight through all the clues. The story was complex, but logical. New detectives are plagued by personal demons, nothing is as it seems. This too is attractive. Life is very confusing. They bring order to it.
Thinking about architecture and how by its very nature it solves problems, whether those problems are program, density, image, brand, materiality or energy consumption. There is an end point, the building is done and its post-occupation narrative is not allowed to wander too far off expectations. Compared to other arts where difficulty and inconclusiveness have long been the norm, architecture is like a tightly plotted detective novel with no surprises. Should this be a measure of its success -- that it responds to our desire for the tidy ending in a sloppy uncontrollable world? Or, should architecture lean towards the fluid accommodation of extremely fluid and migratory life in the world today?