Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's A Mystery To Me. Or Is It a Suspense?

When someone says they just read the best mystery novel, did they? Or was it a suspense novel?

What are the differences?

Suspense: In a suspense novel you know more than the character. There are multiple points of view and there are hints throughout the story as to why the main character is in danger.

Mystery: These books are more about whodunit with clever twists that always brings the readers along in the story because they curious. The reader only knows as much as the character; there is only one view point. In mystery novels, there are clues and suspects and everyone has a secret.

Does it matter if you say you just read the best suspense novel? Or the best mystery novel? Probably not. But now you know more.

There are many, many mystery and suspense novels out in the world. Go forth and read!

What is your favorite suspense or mystery book?
I grew up loving Nancy Drew Mysteries!

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imlindsayb said...

A great young adult mystery is Tim Wynne-Jones' The Boy in the Burning House (though now I am self-conscious about whether it is actually just suspense :)...I am fairly confident since it won an Edgar award).

Scott said...

Kids love mysteries. That's why the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and other Stratemeyer Syndicate ( books have always done so well.

I think one of the things that makes Harry Potter so successful is the element of mystery in each plot. That sets the books above the typical fantasy.

There's just something about a good mystery. I went through an Agatha Christie phase when I was younger, when I read several of her books. Even then, i didn't think she was an especially good writer and there was a sometimes annoying sameness to the books I read (I couldn't tell you now which was which), but those mysteries kept me turning the pages.

No matter what you write, throw in a mystery in either the main plot or a subplot, and you'll keep people reading. They'll want to know how it turns out, and whether they guessed it correctly.

Taffy said...

Thanks for your comments!