A writer of mystery/suspense/thriller has to hide the clues to the killer, bad guy, answer. Other writers also have to hide things - action/adventure or even fantasy. In almost any book, something is hidden, waiting to be revealed or found out. It’s the author’s job to keep it hidden until time for the reveal. If the reader guesses the ending too soon, the book is a disappointment.
So the author hides things. He may not let us in on the bad guy’s thoughts, or at least not in on all of them. She may hide clues in lists of seemingly unimportant information, one clue among many others. He may put something in plain sight, but have the protagonist, and thus the reader, dismiss it as wrong or inconsequential. The truth may be thrown in among many lies and misdirection. But the clues have to be there. The writer has to play fair (to a certain extent).
Things can be in plain sight, while still hidden. Can you find the golfer among the many palm trees?
You’ll have to look close. He’s not readily visible even if the picture were blown up in size. The golfer (the clue) is in among the palm trees (the distractions), but there are pointers to him (the golf carts), if you’re paying attention. (And if this picture shows up larger in the post than it does in Compose mode.)
3 months ago