Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Genres - Mystery

This is a genre close to my heart. Next to historical romance, I love mysteries best. The funny thing is, I never really try to figure things out. I just let the story unfold and am always surprised at the ending.
So, what is a mystery? (I couldn't lift the definition from the ACFW Genesis Site this time, because they lump mystery/suspense/thriller all together, and each has distinct differences.)
A mystery focuses on a crime that needs to be solved, most often murder. There is a detective, whether professional or amature, and several possible villains. The story is about unraveling the clues, walking in the steps of the sleuth, and finding out Whodunit! Often told in first person, and ranging in tone from cozy to hard-boiled, mysteries are second only to romances in book sales.
I love a good mystery. And, as stated above, there are several different types of mystery, each bringing its own set of rules and definitions.
I started reading mysteries when I was in college. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Tommy and Tuppence, and Hercule Poirot.
Current favorites in the contemporary mystery field are Sarah Graves's Home Repair is Homicide series, and Virginia Lanier's JoBeth Siddons Bloodhounds, Inc. series.
I also love historical mysteries. Ellis Peters's Cadfael Mysteries, Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody Mysteries, Anne Perry's Inspector Monk Mysteries. Love, love, love them.
I'm currently composting a series of historical mysteries, but I think I'm not quite ready yet as an author to write them.
How about you? Do you like mysteries? Any favorites?


  1. I haven't read a mystery in ages, though I used to love them... maybe I'll go dig one up.

  2. I used to love Miss Marple when I was younger. And I enjoyed the Amelia Peabody you recommended. Hmm. A good cozy is fun, but I wouldn't say I have a favorite.

  3. I definitely enjoy mysteries. It amazes me how people can write them!

  4. I love mysteries! Collecting Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys is proof of that. Thought I've read so many that I usually have it all figured out by chapter 10 at the latest. Ditto for most suspense.

    I'm not so good at crafting them though. But if someone can keep me puzzled past chapter 10, or toss in a twist or red herring that I don't see coming, that's a pretty good indication that you've got a rock-solid mystery.