Better Lock the Door

Category: Genres

The Hardboiled Mystery

Hard Boiled Detectives The classical mystery story came to its heyday in the 1920s and 30s. World War I had just ended, and the world was coming through the 1918 flu pandemic that infected a third of the world’s population.

In England, the classic mystery had already been established by Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The stories showed the reader a very upper society, very proper, with tea being served often. The detective often had a tie to police, but were intellectually superior. They were often given a reluctant acceptance by the local law enforcement officer. Sometimes, the police would call them in because they couldn’t solve the case, but more often the detective burst onto the scene, showing up the helpless officer.

But in America, we saw the emergence of a different type of detective in the hardboiled detective mysteries. In another kind of society, Dashielle Hammett and Raymond Chandler introduced us to the private eye. Often a lone wolf, who tried to dispense his own style of justice in a world with few rules.

[bctt tweet=”The hardboiled American detective was much more cynical than his English counterpart. It wasn’t a game or puzzle to him, but a more personal battle against evil, even of life or death. ” username=”httpstwittercomTimSuddeth”] Continue reading

What Is A Cozy Mystery?

Cozy Mystery Cover

Black Magic Kitten cover

Mystery fiction is a genre, or category, of fiction that usually involves a murder or crime. Within the category of mysteries are a number of evolving and developing genres bridging true crime, fiction, supernatural, paranormal and others. One of the fun things for a writer is to discover new ways to expand the envelop of a genre, although this may not be so comfortable to the reader.

One of the most popular genres in mystery fiction is what are known as cozy mysteries, or cozies. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite genres.

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What’s Your Genre?

Shelf of mysteries

So many books to get to.

Every year, over 650 million books in print are sold. So, how can you find a book similar to the one you just enjoyed? If you have ever tried to find a book in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, you know what an impossible task it seems as you glaze at the rows and rows of bookshelves. Most of them spine out, which is a pet peeve of mine. Even after you learn where the mystery/suspense section is, you are still looking at a large section of the store. And that isn’t even talking about shopping on Amazon, where you can’t even see how the books grouped together.

Say, I like the The Cat Who books, but I’ve read them all and I want someone a little different. What should I do?

This is where it is helpful to break a large category, like mysteries, into smaller sub-categories or genres. A genre is a category of artistic composition, like literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter. It allows us to group similar books or separate books by their differences.

I can look at the book’s category, Cozy with cats, and then look for another book in that genre, say one by Rita Mae Brown in her Mrs. Murphy series. Or if, instead of cats, I would rather have dogs, or llamas, I can look for those, too.

Over the next few months, we will look into many of the different genres that mysteries have been broken int. We will, also, discover representative writers and classics within them. Because there are so many types of mysteries, there is no one standard list of genres. Some lists break them down by time period, type of sleuth, type of investigation, location, and a myriad of other ways.

Some of the more popular genres are classic, hardboiled, police procedural, true crime, noir, Scandinavian, and cozies. As you can see, there can be a lot of overlap in many these.

Like a pecan pie, there are many ways you can cut it. I look forward to studying the different genres with you and, maybe, discovering some new favorite writers and books.

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