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Mystery Fiction: Home

Identify Mystery Books

Davenport Public Library puts this sticker on the spine of all of the Mystery books.

Edgar Awards

The Mystery Writer's Association (MWA) annually to the best mystery in different formats. The award was first presented in 1954 and it is considered to be the most prestigious award for the mystery genre. It is named after Edgar Allan Poe. To learn more about the awards, click here. For a list of past award winners, click here.

Mystery Genre

What makes a book a Mystery???

At the most basic level, a mystery book is a book in which some type of crime has been committed and someone attempts to solve the crime.  But the mystery genre is not basic and there are many sub-genres. Most of the time, the crime is murder but that is not always the case. 

Difference Between Mystery & Suspense

Mysteries solve a crime.

1. Mystery tries to figure out who the criminal is

Suspense novels focus on:

1. Preventing the crime

2. Escaping from the criminal - usually criminal is known to reader and protagonist

Thrillers are suspense novels taken to the next level. Suspense the villain's wrath is an individual or small group of people. Thriller, whole city, country or world is in danger.

Crime fiction: focus shifts from a strict attempt to solve the puzzle to an explorations of the psychology motiavting the indivuals involved in the story.  With more of an emphasis on characterization and less concern about the restoration of social order found in traditional mysteries, crime fiction can push the mystery genre closer to the world of literary fiction, but raders who expect a traditional mystery might not always be thrilled with this brand of crime novels

Appeal of Mysteries

Mysteries offer the reader a world in which justice and order prevail. They are a modern version of the medieval morality play, in which good and evil battle for dominance.  All too often in the real world, justice is not served and order is not restored. How very satisfying for many readers to see the reverse come tue in mystery fiction. This orderly structure of the mystery genre is a powerful element of a book's appeal for many readers.

For some mystery readers, it is all about the puzzle. These readers want a plot that challeges them to solve the crime, using clues the author has woven into the story, before the authors' fictional detective finds out who dunit. Puzzle-based mysteries have had a major role in the genre since the beginning.

Other readers enjoy intriquing characters. Some readers could care less about what actural mystery is being solved but enjoy speding time with a favorite protagonist.

Mystery readers also like that they often learn something while reading their favorite novels. Many mystery novelists use their own individual expertise in a particular subject area to give their books a unique flavor. 

Mystery authors know the power of an entertaining story. And readers know they can count on mystery authors and their books to keep them turning the pages.

Subject Guide