Mystery has always been a favorite among readers. It is a genre of fiction that follows a crime (like a murder or a disappearance) from the moment it is committed to the moment it is solved. The term comes from the Latin word mysterium, meaning “a secret thing.” They are often called “whodunits” because they turn the reader into a detective trying to figure out the who, what, when, and how of a particular crime. Most mysteries feature a detective or private eye solving a case as the central character.


Most critics and scholars credit Edgar Allan Poe with inventing the modern mystery. He published a short story called The Murders in the Rue Morgue in 1841 that featured Auguste C. Dupin, literature’s first fictional detective. It was a groundbreaking moment that saw the creation of an entirely new literary genre.


Sub-Genres of Mystery and Crime Fiction


Mystery and crime fiction often fall into four separate sub-genres, each with its own characteristics.

Mystery book

1. Detective novels: These are crime novels that center around a detective (professional, amateur, or retired) investigating a crime or solving a murder case. Detective novels generally start with a mysterious incident or death and unfold as the detective follows leads, investigates suspects, and ultimately solves the case. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced the world to the famous Sherlock Holmes in 1887, when he first began writing the series of stories featuring the popular detective. Other well-known detective novelists include Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Sue Grafton.


2. Cozy mysteries: To solve a case, the detective in a cozy mystery often uses their intellect as opposed to police procedures. The genre has some overlap with detective novels; for example, Agatha Christie is considered both a detective novelist and a cozy mystery novelist.


3. Police procedural: These are mystery novels featuring a protagonist who is a member of the police force. Well-known police procedural novelists include Ed McBain, P. D. James, and Bartholomew Gill.

Caper stories

4. Caper stories: These are mystery stories told from the point of view of the criminals rather than the detective trying to catch them. They take readers inside the crimes and heists, giving them full access to their motives, tricks, and swindles. Unlike most mysteries, caper stories often include elements of humor. Well-known caper story novelists include W. R. Burnett, John Boland, Peter O’Donnell, and Michael Crichton.


Some mystery novels break from the traditional format to heighten suspense or play with readers’ expectations. Most mysteries follow roughly the same structure of the crime, followed by the investigation, the twist, the essential breakthrough, and the conclusion.


Why Should You Read Mystery Books?

Why Should You Read Mystery Books

We read mysteries for the same reasons we read romance or women’s fiction or sci-fi. We love to escape into brilliant prose and fascinating stories. We find ourselves instantly involved in the characters’ lives, and being there with them, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, and experiencing their emotional journey. What happens is that our view of the world grows.


Mysteries do give us comfort and they can be uplifting because they make order out of chaos. We are taken to the brink of disaster, and then brought back to safety by the use of logic, human ingenuity, and the “little grey cells.” They also offer a puzzle to be solved, which exercises the brain. Humans generally feel better about themselves when we’re actively engaging our brains in something rather than passively observing.


Mystery readers are intelligent people. The mystery story appeals to their sense of curiosity. They enjoy the action. They love to analyze the psychological makeup and motivational drives of characters. Most mystery readers are interested in how and why a crime is committed as they are in who committed it. Sifting through clues and red herrings as the story progresses adds challenge. Mystery readers have a strong sense of justice and expect evildoers to be punished. Most mysteries provide this kind of ending. A mystery story allows the reader to experience danger, suspense, and fear while seated in a nice safe armchair. Mystery fans also want to marvel at the genius of the detective as he finally solves the crime. Indeed, the reader loves to match wits with the sleuth and the criminal—and the author. Perhaps the most satisfying experience a mystery novel reader can have is to figure out “whodunit” before the end of the book.


The modern mystery has broadened its appeal even more, by including elements of other genres such as history, romance, travel, and other cultures. There’s something for everyone in a good mystery novel. Is it any wonder it is fast approaching the level of readership of romance novels?


How to Select a Mystery Book to Read?

How to Select a Mystery Book to Read

There are a plethora of mystery books available, but some of the best mysteries include these elements:


  1. A strong hook: A great mystery should invite the reader to try to solve the crime, and a great opening is critical to piquing their interest. A mystery should start with just enough information about the crime to build intrigue from the first line. This is the defining moment when a reader chooses whether or not they want to continue. If the dramatic element is missing from the beginning, the reader expects the rest of the book to be the same. The first chapter should initiate the mystery, aligning the reader with the central character on the crime-solving adventure.


  1. An atmospheric setting: Stories in this genre should create an ominous, uneasy mood through setting to support the anxiety of an unknown antagonist lurking in the shadows. Think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes slinking through the London fog in search of a killer. Settings in mysteries also offer opportunities to plant clues and red herrings.


  1. A crime: A crime is an event that fuels the plot in a mystery novel. Revealed in the first chapter, a crime creates the central conflict that launches the investigation, sending the main character on their quest and spurring the narrative arc.


  1. A sleuth: At the heart of every mystery is the main character determined to solve the crime. Mystery writer Raymond Chandler created private detective Philip Marlowe to be a crime solver in his novels. A writer can raise the stakes by making the detective personally invested in solving the crime. Mysteries can center on an amateur investigator—an average citizen who solves the case. The character development of the sleuth is important; they need a back-story that connects them to the crime or the killer, and a motive that explains why solving this crime is important to them.


  1. A villain: A mystery is often called a whodunit because the culprit is unknown until they’re caught at the end. The story follows their movements, which propel the story forward. The main character and the reader discover the criminal’s identity as the plot reaches its climax.


  1. Narrative momentum: A mystery plot is in constant motion thanks to a cat-and-mouse narrative thread. The pacing will quicken the closer the plot moves towards the climax and the closer the main character gets to solving the crime.


  1. A trail of clues: Clues are the literary element that allows mystery stories to engage readers on a deeper level than other types of fiction. The reader becomes an amateur sleuth, following the trail of clues to try to discover the identity of the culprit. When writing mysteries, an author needs to have an organized writing process to keep track of what clues they’re creating, when they appear, and who knows what to make sure the plot lines make sense.

A trail of clues

  1. Foreshadowing: Mysteries often drop hints of things that will happen in the future. This is known as foreshadowing. A writer can hint at a future event with a small clue or through character dialogue. Writers can be more or less direct with foreshadowing, either subtly hinting at future events or explicitly stating what will happen.


  1. Red herrings: A good mystery throws the reader off track. Red herrings are an essential element in mysteries. These false clues build tension by creating other suspects and distracting the detective—and the reader—and leading them away from the real culprit. A writer creates red herrings by placing extra emphasis on an object, event, or character that catches a reader’s attention, making that element seem more significant than it is to the storyline. In Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, there are 10 characters who are all potential suspects. Christie creates red herrings by killing off each character one by one, creating plot twists that send the reader into new directions in search of the killer.


  1. A satisfying ending: At the end of great mystery novels there is the big reveal—the sleuth discovers the identity of the culprit. An ending should also provide an alibi for any other suspects to strengthen the identity of the real killer and eliminate doubt, tying up loose ends.


Benefits of Reading Mystery Books

Benefits of Reading Mystery Books

There is a reason why mystery novels are one of the best-selling genres of all time. Well, it is more than just the enjoyment of reading them. Mystery books with great narrative and structure give the readers a whole lot more. If you haven’t tried to read a book from this genre, you should. It is worth the try and will surely keep you coming back for more. It keeps your heart thumping and makes you break a sweat like you are part of an actual scene. However, there are many surprising and unexpected benefits that you can surely get from reading the genre. Below are some of the benefits you can get by reading mystery fiction:


  1. Exercises Your Brain

It is important to enhance your mental capacity to have standout success in life. One way you can do to make this happen is by giving your brain a good exercise or workout. Once you stimulate your brain. You are giving yourself a chance to learn new things. Just like reading any other genre, the mystery genre also helps you with your comprehension skills. Mystery novels feature a story that will require a lot of problem-solving, which can surely give your brain a good squeeze. Your brain will naturally try and help the main character provide solutions to each problem that may arise in the story.


  1. Helps You Make Friends

Books, in general, help readers with a human connection. Books will allow you to express your thoughts to other people. You will be able to have a bond with readers who also like what you read. It is always great to have someone who understands you. As mentioned, mystery or thriller novels are one of the most-read genres in the world. You will never know when you meet someone that shares the same interest as yours.


  1. Reduces Your Stress

Sometimes, people need to forget the real-world momentarily to have peace of mind. This will help them avoid further complications, such as depression and anxiety. If you are looking for ways to help you with this aspect, reading should be your first option. A mystery or thriller novel is a good choice. This will give you a different feeling than those other genres and surely make you forget the real world. Plus, it will give you a sense of relief like no other. This happens when a character has surpassed something; you will also feel like you have surpassed something.


  1. Gives You Hope, Wisdom, and Knowledge

Knowledge, wisdom, and hope empower one’s mind and broadens its range. Like what other genres offer when it comes to giving these aspects in life, mystery books also do the same. When you read the mystery genre, that detective self of yours will also start to act as one. You try to understand the situation, which will require you to know some new words and apprehensions. Reading will allow you to interact with a world full of knowledge. It gives you hope by letting you feel like your life is not as messy as you may think it is. It gives you the idea that everything will be okay in the future.

The mystery genre can be one of the best choices. Hopefully, this blog will lead you to go to your nearest bookstore and purchase a book from this genre.






Maybe you are new to writing and want to dip your toes in the novel-writing realm. You quickly realize how many genres, and subgenres, are out there and wonder where you can squeeze in.

Maybe you have a great idea for a story but unsure what genre you want it to be a part of. There are a few factors that decide which genre you should write.

Write What You Love

Write What You Love

If you only enjoy reading horror, thriller, and suspense novels, why would you write romance? If there are a few genres that stand out in your head, you likely know the guidelines for them and are much more familiar with their formats.

Also, it is important to write what you love. The characters, plot, and setting are going to come much easier for you if you love what you write about. Plus, wouldn’t you love to see your book on the shelf one day next to some of your favorites?

If you have a story idea that doesn’t necessarily fit into one of the genres you have in mind, you can always branch out or try to tweak the story to make it fit in.


Factors That Help You Decide Which Genre You Should Write

  • Writeabout what you love.
  • Writewhat you are good at writing.
  • Don’t writewith money and fame in mind.
  • Write to your audience.
  • Test a few different genres.


Different Categories of Books


Fictionfiction Books

Fiction implies the inventive construction of an imaginary world and, most commonly, its fictionality is publicly acknowledged. Hence, its audience typically expects it to deviate in some ways from the real world rather than presenting only characters who are actual people or portrayals that are factually true. The word is from the Latin fictiō, “the act of making, fashioning, or molding.” Fiction is defined by its focus on narratives invented by the author. Most academics and literary critics further subdivide Fiction into two categories- Literary Fiction and genre fiction.



Non-fiction is a broad genre of writing that encompasses all books that aren’t rooted in a fictional narrative. Authors of such accounts genuinely believe or claim them to be truthful at the time of their composition or, at least, pose them to a convinced audience as historically or empirically factual. Common literary examples of non-fiction include expository, argumentative, functional, and opinion pieces; essays on art or literature; biographies; memoirs; journalism; and historical, scientific, technical, or economic writings



The novel is a genre of Fiction, an invented prose narrative of considerable length and a certain complexity that deals imaginatively with human experience, usually through a connected sequence of events involving a group of persons in a specific setting. Within its broad framework, the genre of the novel has encompassed an extensive range of types and styles: picaresque, epistolary, Gothic, romantic, realist, historical—to name only some of the more important ones. It is published as a single book. The word ‘novel’ has been derived from the Italian word ‘novella’ which means “new”. It has features like a representation of characters, dialogues, setting, plot, climax, conflict, and resolution. However, it does not require all the elements to be a good novel. For every writer, a novel is a strong tool to present the philosophical, historical, social, cultural, and moral perspectives.

E.g., Animal Farm by George Orwell, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and others.



Etymologically, romance comes from romanz, which means a story of chivalry and love. The word “romance” also refers to romantic love. As far as literature is concerned, it means romantic stories with chivalrous feats of heroes and knights. Romance describes chivalry and courtly love, comprising stories and legends of duty, courage, boldness, battles, and rescues of damsels in distress.

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

E.g., Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Self-Help Books

A self-help book is one that is written with the intention to instruct its readers on solving personal problems. There are various benefits of reading self-help books.

  • You interpret yourself and the world more positively.
  • You’re inspired to make better choices and take positive actions more often.
  • You don’t improve; you expand.
  • You smash through your limitations.
  • You create personal projects that rocket your growth.

E.g., Fear Less by Dean Sluyter, Silence by Erling Kagge, and others.


Children’s BooksChildren’s Books

Children’s literature comprises those books written and published for young people who are not yet interested in adult literature or who may not possess the reading skills or developmental understandings necessary for its perusal. The age range for children’s literature is from infancy through the stage of early adolescence, which roughly coincides with the chronological ages of twelve through fourteen. Literature serves children in four major ways: it helps them to better understand themselves, others, their world, and the aesthetic values of written language. When children read, they often assume the role of one of the characters. Through that character’s thoughts, words, and actions, the child develops insight into his or her character and values. Frequently, because of experiences with literature, the child’s modes of behavior and value structures are changed, modified, or extended.

E.g., The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and others.



Biography, commonly considered nonfictional, the subject of which is the life of an individual. One of the oldest forms of literary expression, it seeks to re-create in words the life of a human being—as understood from the historical or personal perspective of the author—by drawing upon all available evidence, including that retained in memory as well as written, oral, and pictorial material. It is simply an account or detailed description of the life of a person. It entails basic facts, such as childhood, education, career, relationships, family, and death. It portrays the experiences of all these events occurring in the life of a person, mostly in chronological order. A person who writes biographies is called a “biographer.”

E.g., Shakespeare: A Life by Park Honan


AutobiographyAuto Biography

Autobiography is one type of biography, which is a written record of the author’s life. Rather than being written by somebody else, an autobiography comes through the person’s pen, in his own words. Some autobiographies are written in the form of a fictional tale; as novels or stories that closely mirror events from the author’s real life. Such stories include Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield and J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. In writing about a personal experience, one discovers himself. Therefore, it is not merely a collection of anecdotes – it is a revelation to the readers about the author’s self-discovery.



A text-book is a book of instruction. They are produced to meet the needs of educators, usually at educational institutions. Its primary aim is to enable one to develop a proper understanding of the subject. A good text-book takes into consideration the method of teaching and the level of readership. It is revised keeping in view new development and changing methodology of teaching.


Political Books

The political genre is made up of books about different political viewpoints, their effects on society, and the politicians who were involved with laws, wars, and economics. Warfare, force, and power are also included in the political genre. Political Fiction employs narrative to comment on political events, systems, and theories. Works of political fiction, such as political novels, often “directly criticize an existing society or present an alternative, even fantastic, reality.”

E.g., Common Sense by Thomas Paine, I am America by Stephen Colbert, and others.


Academic Books

The academic book is a long-form publication, and is the result of in-depth academic research, usually over a period of years, making an original contribution to a field of study. An academic book can take many forms. In the past, these forms would generally have been represented in print, but increasingly print formats are being accompanied or sometimes replaced by digital versions, and digital formats are becoming increasingly functional.


MysteryMystery book

The mystery is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved. The term comes from the Latin mysterium, meaning “a secret thing.” stories can be either fictional or non-fictional, and can focus on both supernatural and non-supernatural topics. Many mystery stories involve what is called a “whodunit” scenario, meaning the mystery revolves around uncovering a culprit or criminal. Mystery fiction is a loosely-defined term that is often used as a synonym of detective fiction. However, in more general usage “mystery” may be used to describe any form of crime fiction, even if there is no mystery to be solved. E.g., Sherlock Holmes books.


Thrillersthriller book

Thrillers are characterized by fast pacing, frequent action, and resourceful heroes who must thwart the plans of more-powerful and better-equipped villains. Literary devices such as suspense, red herrings, and cliffhangers are used extensively. Thrillers often overlap with mystery stories but are distinguished by the structure of their plots. In a thriller, the hero must thwart the plans of an enemy. Jeopardy and violent confrontations are standard plot elements. A thriller climaxes when the hero finally defeats the villain, saving his own life and often the lives of others.

E.g., The Jack Reacher series, written by Lee Child, and R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series


Poetry BooksPoetry Books

Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning. Poetry may be written independently or may occur in conjunction with other arts, as in poetic drama, hymns, or lyrics. Poetry often uses particular forms and conventions to expand the literal meaning of the words or to evoke emotional or sensual responses. Devices such as assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and rhythm are sometimes used to achieve musical or incantatory effects. Poetry’s use of ambiguity, symbolism, irony, and other stylistic elements of poetic diction often leaves a poem open to multiple interpretations. Similarly, metaphor and simile create a resonance between otherwise disparate images—a layering of meanings, forming connections previously not perceived.


Spiritual Books

The genre of “religious, inspirational, and spiritual” encompasses a diverse collection of material that includes both fiction and non-fiction books. This genre includes books that cover topics meant to encourage spiritual growth but are not necessarily tied to one religion. Books that offer techniques for improving physical health, emotional well-being, and personal relationships are popular in this genre, especially when they pull from concepts and practices from all over the world.


Cook Bookscook book

Cookbooks are a collection of recipes, instructions, and information about the preparation and serving of foods. A cookbook is also a chronicle and treasury of the fine art of cooking which would otherwise be lost. Cookbooks may be written by individual authors, who may be chefs, cooking teachers, or other food writers; they may be written by collectives, or they may be anonymous. They may be addressed to home cooks, professional restaurant cooks, institutional cooks, or more specialized audiences.


Art Books

The art books are works of visual art, an approach or criteria that could include the case of books made by artists. An Art Book today can be seen to occupy various positions including that of a piece of theory, a catalog, a printed exhibition, a piece of art in itself, a supplement to a pre-existing piece. It can be a proposal for the future or an examination of the present or what has passed.


Young Adult Books

Young-adult fiction (often abbreviated as YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 18. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent as the protagonist, rather than an adult or a child. Themes in YA stories often focus on the challenges of youth. The most important component of any young adult story is the teenage perspective. Despite its unique characteristics, YA shares the fundamental elements of fiction with other stories: character, plot, setting, theme, and style.

E.g., The Fault In Our Stars


Board Books

A board book is a type of children’s book printed on thick paperboard. It is printed and used for both the cover and the interior pages. A board book’s pages are specially folded and bound together. The pages are just over 1mm thick, and there are very few of them. They are very durable and consequently are intended for small children, who often tend to be less gentle with books. Board books are appropriate for babies aged 6 months to toddlers 4 years old.


History BooksHistory Books

Historical Fiction is a story that takes readers to a time and place in the past. What makes a historical novel believable is its setting. Historical Fiction is set in a real place, during a culturally recognizable time. The details and the action in the story can be a mix of actual events and ones from the author’s imagination as they fill in the gaps. Characters can be pure fiction or based on real people (often, it’s both). But everything about them — their attitudes and look, the way they speak, and problems they face — should match the era. Of course, the key to an author getting all of this right is research. Authors are always allowed artistic license, but the most satisfying works of Historical Fiction have been well researched.