Be a Sleuth

Mystery holds third place as one of the most popular genres of all time according to Ola Kowalczyk, Most Popular Book Genres Infographic, and second in sales according to Bookstr, Book Genres That Make The Most Money. I can believe that to be true what with the number of mystery and detective fiction that seems to pour out of publishers’ vaults, and the plethora of true crime and crime dramas on television people are definitely into the “who done it”. Children’s mystery fiction remains popular too. Remember the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew? They have many compatriots to read as well. Goodreads Juvenile Mystery

The idea of mystery fiction is to solve a puzzle: clues are doled out to the main character(s) who put them together to solve the mystery, often at their peril. The twists turns, red herrings [something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting], locations, other protagonists all combine to move the story along and keep the reader interested until the end. The culprit can be revealed at the beginning, which forces the characters to find out the why and sometimes the how, or at the end where the “who done it” becomes an important part of the story.

Photo courtesy of Piotr Grzywocz on Wikimedia Commons

There are different categories of mystery/detective fiction. Kind of like a buffet, there is something for everyone, from the hard-boiled detective a la Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon to cozies by Agatha Christie with the beloved amateur detective Miss Marple: the body in the library and many types in between. There are Procedurals, women/men/children in peril, furry sleuths (my favorite) who are often smarter than their owners, historical mystery solvers like the chronicles of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters, legal, supernatural and third world detectives as seen in No. 1 ladies detective agency by Alexander McCall Smith to name a few (Mystery Subgenres).

What I do to find mystery fiction is type in detective and mystery fiction in our catalog. I will then be able to see what we and other libraries in our consortium have. You can refine your search by books only, or audio only, then I will often refine again by availability and date so I am looking at the most current materials that are available at the time I am looking.

Another way to find mystery information is on our website. Under the “Services” tab, go to “Readers’ Corner”. We have Book Link brochures that offer information about different genres including mystery and crime fiction, suggestions of authors and how to search for more information. We also offer personalized reading suggestions and staff picks: books we think are great and want to share with others. We have our Book Link brochures in paper as well. You can talk to us too and we will be happy to share our author ideas with you.

Other places to find out about mystery fiction on the web.
Booklist Reader: Mystery Fiction
The Balance Careers: Hard Boiled To Cozy Types Of Mystery Novels
Stop, You’re Killing Me: Anthony Awards


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