I love the mystery genre. I love trying to spot the clues and work out whodunnit. I have a nice little collection of Agatha Christie novels on my bookshelf. Miss Marple stories are some of my favourites, but I’m also a fan of Poirot. For years I’ve had Sherlock Holmes on my ‘to be read’ pile, but never seemed to get around to reading any until recently. I downloaded a free Sherlock Holmes ebook from Amazon for my Kindle a couple of weeks ago and have been enjoying trying to think like Holmes.
It was a coincidence that only last week I noticed The Australian Literature Review was having a short story competition this month with a mystery/detective theme. With my head full Holmes, it was perfect timing to have a go at penning my own murder mystery. As much as I love reading the genre, I don’t often attempt writing it, unsure of my ability to weave in subtle clues without giving too much away, while leaving readers with that ‘aha!’ feeling when they get to the end. I love the cleverness involved in mystery stories, and admire the crafty authors of the genre.
Obviously reading Holmes had a good influence on my writing, despite my worry, as the story I wrote for the competition has been short listed! Pop over to The Australian Literature Review and have a read for yourself. The story is titled ‘Mystery at Beaumont Manor‘ and is written in a similar style to the Holmes/Poirot type stories.
Do you like to read or write mystery? What are your top tips for a great mystery story?
My top tip: Plot backwards. Know how it’s going to end and plot in reverse so you can weave in the clues.
5 thoughts on “A Little Bit of Mystery”
I love the mystery genre too. I’ve been reading Holmes tales very slowly (because I don’t like the idea of having read them all) since I was a kid. Well done getting shortlisted. I’ll check your story out. My tip for a great mystery story is to make to way in which the detective draws his conclusions and solves the case as clever and imaginative as you can. Doyle was a… no, THE legend at that!
I agree, Doyle was certainly a master at clever detective stories. I’m thoroughly enjoying reading Sherlock Holmes at the moment, I’m so glad I finally got around to it. I saw your comment on my story on The Australian Literature Review, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Excellent story, Jo! It kept me guessing the entire length of the mystery. It unraveled well! Thanks for sharing it.
Thank you, Jarm! I’m glad it kept you guessing.
I just plotted my last MS backwards. I had thought it was crazy, but after getting halfway through and totally stuck, someone suggested it. I think it made the end result so much stronger! 🙂