Water Minute Mysteries (★★★★☆)

Water Minute Mysteries

Aaron Mitchell  *  Amazon Digital Services  *  July 31, 2015  *  69 Pages

I don’t usually read mystery stories, so I’m not sure if this book follows a common format for the genre, but, in my opinion, Water Minute Mysteries is very unique. There are ten short stories in this collection, each told from the perspective of The Professor. The Professor repeatedly finds himself in odd situations in which a somewhat fantastical problem is presented. It’s not up to him to solve the mystery every time, but, of course, somehow he always does–although the reader isn’t immediately shown how. Only after each story, in an even shorter “solution” section, is the mystery explained.

At first, this format confused me. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. However, after I read The Cat’s Sad Swim (Story #3), I knew I was hooked. I had become accustomed to the book’s format, at that point, so that helped. But Story #3, in particular, featured a delightfully creative and unpredictable plot, as well as complicated characters who interacted with each other in dynamic and nuanced ways–and that trend continued as I read.

Truly, as I finished stories 4 through 10, I couldn’t help but think that author Mitchell has an impressive understanding of human nature and a real knack for creating stories with depth and insight. I also admired his ability to make The Professor a genuinely layered character: intelligent but not boring, a bit of a cad but still endearing, matter-of-fact but also emotionally intuitive. He ended up being more complicated than I expected, and I appreciated that.

Ultimately, this ended up being a quick pleasant read for me. I enjoyed trying to figure out the mysteries (I knew exactly what was going on in Story #10 almost immediately, I’m proud to say!), and I enjoyed getting to know The Professor. A very engaging book, overall.

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