Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's in a Mystery?

Have you ever wondered why some mysteries can be found in the mystery section, while others are located among the regular fiction? Believe it or not, we actually have a system for making this decision. To qualify as a mystery, the novel generally needs to include two things: a professional or amateur detective and a solvable crime (usually murder).

Over the years, detectives of all styles have graced the pages of mystery novels, including: park rangers, socialites, police officers, busy-bodies, private investigators, book store owners, Moms, teachers, antiquarians, ministers, and even librarians! There are also a number of sub-genres within the world of mysteries, such as historical, cozies, hard-boiled, humorous, and classic; and they've taken place in anywhere from Egypt to London to U.S. National Parks to a 21st-Century New York City.

The library's Mystery Book Discussion Group has been around for a number of years, reading mysteries of all kinds. Visit its webpage to find suggestions, as well as to see what its members are currently reading.

Meanwhile here are a few of the novels that created some of the best conversations:

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

In 1896 New York, psychologist--or in period terminology, an alienist--Laszlo Kreizler joins forces with journalist John Schuyler Moore to track a vicious serial killer.

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

Eve Dallas, a New York police lieutenant, is in over her head when she breaks the rules and falls in love with Roarke, an Irish billionaire and a suspect in her most recent case.

Above Suspicion by Lynda la Plante (creator of the Prime Suspect TV drama)

Rookie homicide detective Anna Travis who, during her first case, tracks a serial killer who has transitioned from prostitute victims to innocent students, a murderer who may possibly be a famous actor.

1 comment:

Diane Cipa said...

That's very interesting. Though I loved Nancy Drew as a teen, I've not read many mysteries as an adult. Might have to revisit the genre as it seems like it would be relaxing, especially now that I know what goes.