Mystery Questions

What defines a mystery? What constitutes a mystery book?

A mystery is a book is a book with a theme that has a question as the main concept, the question, “Who did it?” It usually has one protagonist and consists of a crime or incident happening, which leads to the question “Who did it?” The incident could be murder, robbery or false accusations.

2. Give a brief history of the mystery genre to include the contributions of: Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Agatha Christie. Be sure to describe how each one of these people has shaped/changed the genre of mystery.

The mystery genre was first used in 1941. He contributed greatly to the mystery genre because he was the first one to write in it. His contribution was that he influenced the genre called classic mystery for almost a century until the private eye genre was introduced. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made mystery fiction very popular 50 years after Edgar Allen Poe introduced it. Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes. He contributed to the mystery genre by making mystery fiction popular with his narration style, smart detective, his portrayal of 19th century London, and puzzles. Agatha Christie contributed to the mystery genre because of her new way of writing. She allowed readers to know what the detective was thinking, to know what the detective would do, and how it would be done. Her books opened the mind of the detective to the readers giving a reward throughout the book rather then during the revelation at the end of the book. This was something the readers wanted and got from Agatha Christie. Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler contributed greatly to the mystery genre because they invented the Hard-boiled genre. They’re characters were realistic and life-like. This was coming out of the Classical Age of mystery and had realistic settings and plots. Their work was technically the first mystery novels instead of clever puzzles.


3. Give a small description of the eight different sub-genres of mystery (The Detective Story, The Private Eye Story, The Hard-boiled Detective Story,, The Crime Story, Psychological Suspense Story ,The Thriller Story, The Cozy Story.

  • The detective Story

The sub genre of mystery, The Detective Story, was invented by Edgar Allen Poe. It was used for the next century and a half. Many times, the traditional detective story portrayed a gifted amateur who was the detective. The detective story usually consists of red herrings, innocents wrongly accused, and the shocking revelation that the least likely suspect is the culprit.

  • The Private Eye Story

The private eye is a sub genre of mystery that replaces the amateur detective to produce something that is almost the same as the traditional detective story. People usually give credit to Dashiell Hammett with creating the private eye sub genre, it was in fact, already used in Sherlock Holmes, almost half a century earlier. Usually, someone hires the private eye to find something, or answer the main question, “Who did it?”

  • The Hard-Boiled Detective Story

The sub genre hard-boiled detective story is an American invention that produced a lot of great literature of the 20th century. It usually consists of official police investigation work and has one detective to solve crimes. It was aimed at male readers, containing a lot of violence, bad language and sex.

  • The Crime Story

In this sub genre, the crime is a mystery and the protagonist is trying to solve the mystery behind the crime. It usually does not have happy endings.

  • Psychological Suspense Story

In this sub genre of mystery, the novels are of fear and dread, in which there is a chilling effect(s) that becomes more and more apparent as the story progresses. The reason may be imagined, but is usually the work of an unknown antagonist. Only sometimes detection is shown, and some of the stories can almost be declared horror or supernatural.

  • The Thriller Story

This sub genre can differ throughout countries. In England, anything that is a bit more active then poisoning is a thriller. But in USA, it is usually a story about espionage, international intrigue, political, religious, or medical adventure. It is very rare to find detection in a thriller, and the action usually takes place on a large stage. Thrillers are generally fast paced, with the hero or heroine navigating dangerous obstacles to reach an objective that almost always has the question in mind, “Was it worth it?”

  • The Cozy Story

The cozy is very much like hard-boiled, but it is aimed at children and women, containing less or no use of bad language and violence. Violence or crime is usually done of camera. Agatha Christie is a famous Cozy writer.

4. Identify which genre you want to read, and include a description as to why.

I am going to read Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, this is a hard-boiled thriller which as about someone from the US military. I picked this book because I play the game of it and it seems very interesting that a game was made off of the idea of a book.