Mysteries engage the reader in solving a puzzle (sometimes a crime) where as thrillers excite the reader to experience the thrill of the chase. Mysteries are often more tranquil in both setting and pace, allowing the reader to "work alongside" the investigator in examining the clues. Often referred to as whodunits, the primary problem is discovering the identity of the culprit. On the other hand, in thrillers, the perpetrator is often known and the book centers more around how the suspect will be caught and whether they will commit additional offenses.
Mystery books can be categorized into a number of sub-genre. The cozy mystery is a puzzle or mystery presented, minus the blood. A mystery is presented, minus the blood.
Popular Cozy mysteries include:
Mystery books can also be categorized by the investigative style:
|The Amateur Sleuth||In these novels, the person solving the crime is not a professional crime investigator. Sometimes a family member, or just a nosy kid (think Scooby Doo), the protagonist works to solve a crime alongside the police, or in a case where the police have failed. Falvia de Luce, in Alan Bradley's The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie straddles the cozy and amateur sub-genre, as do the iconic series Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.|
|Private Eye||This is an American icon, originally published in serial magazines during the 1930s and 1940s. The detective in these stories have a strong code of honor. Kinsey Malone is a private investigator featured Sue Grafton's Alphabet series (A is for Alibi, etc.)|
|Hard-Boiled Detective||In these novels, the PIs struggle with there own demons (alcoholism, etc.) and their methods are not always squeeky clean. Walter Mosely introduced us to P.I. Joe King, an ex-cop and ex-convict.|
|Noir||Noir mysteries are darker and grittier in mood and setting that traditional PI stories. Brutality includes graphic descriptions and the cops aren't always the protagonist. The most famous Noir detective is Sam Spade, created by Dashiell Hammett.|
|Police Procedural||These mysteries focus around an group of professionals -- the police department, a forensics lab, etc. -- solving a crime in a step-by-step fashion. Kathy Reichs' series featuring anthropologist Temperance Brennan is a great example.|
The investigator, Sherlock Holmes, is so iconic, there is a whole genre of works that are based on or connected to his character, originally created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In our collection you'll find
Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin
Answers| Catalog | Guides | Resources | Teachers