If you want your fiction to drive home a message, consider not making it your story's focus.
The past few weeks, I've re-visited the mysteries in Aaron Elkins's series with forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver. Reflecting on them, I see several themes.
Foremost, as with any classic mystery, there's a quest for justice and a restoration of shalom.
But other chords resonate. With their use of recurring characters, I sense of the value of friendship. I see the pleasures of exotic travel, well-prepared food, and the comforts of home.
Must underneath runs an even stronger testament to the worth of a great marriage. These aren't romance novels, but they resonate with glimpses of a married couple deeply in love. Gideon and Julie argue, they reconcile, they share ideas and chores. But especially they complete one another's lives – serving as models of mutuality that surpass even the best sermon on Ephesians 5.
There's nothing threatening for a reader whose marriage fires don't burn as warmly. Just an invitation to enjoy the glow with your own partner.
Plus discovering whodunnit.