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.