Growing up I was a huge fan of Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew novels. Solving a mystery always added an interactive element to reading these books that I really enjoyed. Lately many bestselling novels have elements of mystery within them regardless of genre. Mystery seems to really be selling again (not like it ever really stopped).

Now as a writer I have gone back to the mystery story and started exploring it from a writer’s perspective. What I find interesting is that most books and classes on writing a mystery are all about murder. “First you must come up with a murderer and victim and then you can build the mystery around it…”[more…]

Now this is certaintly true, as was the case for Agatha Christie novels, but what about Nancy Drew? She rarely (as far as I can remember) ever dealt with murder. Of course the audience for these novels were much younger but just because you are writing for adults does that mean you need to make your mystery about a murder?

I think not – the new hit show LOST is an example of a new type of mystery for adults that does not directly deal with murder. Sure there may be a mysterious death or two but that is not the main thrust of the mystery. Instead there is a mysterious group of numbers that keeps popping up over and over again throughout the series.

These numbers are played in the lotto bringing good fortune and bad fortune to the player. They are found on a mysterious hatch buried underground in the middle of a mysterious island. They are repeated over and over again as part of a decades old distress call…. Every episode leaves one dying to know what the connection is.

Then there are these weird creatures running around – a polar bear on a tropical island? The audience is left wondering Where did he come from and how the heck did he get here?

Personally I enjoy this type of mystery much more than the traditional ‘Who dunnit’ or ‘How dunnit’ murder mysteries we are all so used to. It will be interesting to see how much of an effect this show LOST has on the mystery genre.

Perhaps you have a story that could use a little mysterious twist to it?