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message 1: by Mickey (new)

Mickey Hoffman I read mystery novels constantly, and I think I'm noticing a trend which I'm not entirely happy about.
Instead of creating a puzzle, the "mystery" which keeps me reading avidly 'till the last page, the authors use a device like "rush against the clock" without really having much of an actual mystery involved. Or, if there's a question about whodunnit, the author is so caught up in creating a thriller, he or she hasn't written a good mystery. That's my take on it, anyhow. I remember seeing the movie made from Jurassic Park and thinking it was just one big, long chase scene and that's how some of these novels strike me. How about you?

message 2: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm (malcolm_campbell) | 4 comments My cynical guess is that writers and publishers are slotting books into genres because it's expected these days. So, they look around and say, "let's call it a mystery" without considering the fact that there's nothing mysterious in the book, no clues, no leads, no puzzles, and ultimately no solutions.


message 3: by Arthur (new)

Arthur | 6 comments I may have been under the illusion that the mystery was something that contained a plot of something and it happens among a set of characters, not unlike Craig Rice's 'Home Sweet Homicide' where character are fictional or made-up from people she touched in her surroundings in her real life. Still to me the author chooses to explain a way for their story in a form of mystery. Hours go in using my brain to follow the composition. The mystery novel paces itself using a common or real solution. I become vexed with wondering if many poets were as smart. There aren’t enough ways to explain the procedures continued in the mystery format. Life or death, crime and punishment, sighted paranormal, just love, or just sex, a real relationship telling their fun adventures or notwithstanding critiqued thoughts, born to be creative in form of a good mystery novel. They are simple to understand and contain tidbits for readers to keep interested. Downfalls may be the complicated or wordy in personal bias, lack of personal knowledge or use of clear views can become obvious. Not written as a mystery and a mystery should be mysterious, it sometimes can be exaggerated and misleading. Dialogue can somehow shorten and the actors stray from main ideas. They may end up following odd beliefs and stray from the supposed plots not regaining by leaving the story to seem broken. Is this less and less mysterious, and the proof we need the writers don’t know what a mystery is? Or then again some story development is depending on what the characters have gained in their actions, incidents we read and those outcomes reveal more than plot. Good mystery novels held us with a believable story and reveal a whodunit with that of plot on the outset of his/her actions that is to come in final in the story. We enjoy a good story or a cast of characters. I love or hate it simply because it is underrated, or, that it has excellence proves a great deal. I usually ask was I disappointed in the end, too, because I am thankful for the best of writers keeping in mind I read what I like giving either four or five star ratings. I may not write about certain ideas I had that I thought was better than an author had for an equally aggressive outcome for the story. Because I reflect the book is sold on the author’s perception not mine. As a rule of thumb I generally go for the juiciest summaries before reading a mystery novel. If I’m not correct about this I may never tell anyone.

message 4: by Victor (new)

Victor J. (victorjbanis) | 27 comments I'm not the ideal mystery writer - I just don't have the kind of organized thinking that would let me construct a complex plot ala Christie or James - so my emphasis is on character, but I do try to make some mystery out of things. In my Deadly Mystery series, # 3, Deadly Wrong, the reader knows pretty early on who the bad guy is, so it's more a suspense novel than true mystery, but the others have the whodunnit element.

message 5: by LuAnn (new)

LuAnn Yes, I've noticed some so-called "mystery" novels give the answer right from the start and then weave the tale backward from there.

message 6: by Mickey (new)

Mickey Hoffman Victor and LuAnn, in that case, the "mystery" might be
the story of how things happened and why, but obviously not who. Personally, I like to know as little as possible in the beginning, and learn as I read, but that can be done to death too (sorry for pun)if the writer holds back too much.

message 7: by Glenda (new)

Glenda Bixler (goodreadscomgabixler) | 8 comments I think the worse case of this slotting I've seen is when I selected to read a "psychological suspense" novel and when I got it, one of the characters was talking about his personal psychological problems. I contacted the author, indicating that the book was clearly an action book and was told that one of those in the publishing route changed it. I guided my review back to action and highlighted it that way. I think it is a clear disservice to the authors when books are slotted in the wrong category--they set up the reader to be disappointed when actually the real chase scenes were part of an action or thriller!

Also many authors are combining different types of activites from various genres--again they are slotted for purposes of "bookkeeping" only. Personally, if I were the author, I'd make sure my book(s) were correctly publicized...

By the way, I just read a great mystery whodunit by Lauren Carr, It's Murder My Son! Anybody craving a true, almost classic...I highly recommend!

message 8: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenvwrites) | 44 comments hey a combination of the two is nice solve the puzzle and then chase down the people responsible for the crime committed. Some times the plot lends its self to one or the other. Mine are chase down the killer before more people get hurt.

message 9: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 51 comments The much maligned red herring as a dangerous species perhaps?

message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine Husom | 41 comments There are a variety of methods authors use and I can appreciate most of them, although I'm not very fond of an endless chase through a book that doesn't have very well-defined characters, and a sex scene thrown here and there that has nothing to do with much of anything.

message 11: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Sep 01, 2010 12:33AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) | 29 comments I'm a mystery and crime fiction author. I'm also a hardcore mystery fan. I don't like it if the plot is rushed either. A good mystery takes time to settle and even though in mysteries it's good to have a fast pace, you still have to flesh out the plot and shouldn't skip on anything.

It might just be the style of some authors to do the rush thing or it might be their publishers. We gotta remember that pubs have a hand in how genres or changing etc. Maybe the authors were told to speed it up like that. Don't know. But I admit I haven't read any mysteries like the ones Mickey's mentioned in a while so I am glad. The complaint I have about the last few mysteries I read were that they were way too slow for a mystery. Boring too. I hate slow books. Give me a book that moves fast but that's fleshed out. That's how I try to write as well. You can write with a good quick pace without it reading like you threw it up in an hour. It takes practice but so does any writing technique.

Best Wishes!

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