Better Lock the Door

Category: Genres (Page 1 of 2)

Mystery Readings for August

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Enjoying the summer

Welcome to Opening a Mystery, the August 2022 version. I hope you have a cool drink and a sea breeze to enjoy. I have some suggestions for mystery reading in August,

It’s funny how people don’t talk about being excited about the coming of August. Instead, we look at it as when school is about to start. How can we get one more vacation in before fall? And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if the family has school kids or not.

But, living in South Carolina, I’m on to the sneakiness of August. By making us look beyond it to fall, it leads us to think cool weather is coming, right?

Not so fast. August is just as blazing as the rest of summer. And September usually slips in a surprise week of Indian summer.

Hopefully, this year it won’t be as hot as July, but don’t let it fool you. Summer never leaves without overstaying its welcome.

Lately, I’ve found some very interesting posts on some of my favorite websites.

First, over on Novel Suspects, Tess Gerritsen talks about her writing process, where she finds inspiration, and how she feels about her latest project of co-authoring a book with Gary Braver. Continue reading


In my earlier posts, I’ve looked at the differences in mysteries, suspense, and thrillers. Today, I want to take another look at thrillers: what they are, their components, and some of the different types.

Like any post I do on a literary genre, I feel I need to give some caveats. Just because a story is put in a certain genre doesn’t mean it has to have all the usual parts. Having all the parts doesn’t insure a great read. And missing some of the regular components doesn’t mean the story is inadequate. And once the critics feel they have a genre pegged, an author is going to come and put a unique spin on the category, blurring the lines once again. Continue reading

The Culinary Cozy or recipes to a kill for

The Culinary CozyFor some time, I’ve wanted to do an article about the culinary cozy mystery. These are cozy, and some not so cozy, mysteries that include food and recipes as a major part of the stories. But with all the entries in the culinary cozy genre, where would I even begin?

I’ve been a huge fan of the Hallmark Movies series with Hannah Swenson, based on the books by Joanne Fluke. The baker sleuth is always looking to bribe a potential witness with just the right cookie or brownie. That has the local police department eating out of her hand. (Pun intended.) Of course, I would have to look Continue reading

CrimeReads State of the Crime Novel for 2022

Over on the CrimeRead website, their senior editor, Molly Odintz, asked the 39 Edgar Awards nominees about the state of the crime novel. She divided the responses into Part One, which is more craft oriented. Then, Part Two focused more on genre and the crime publishing industry. With so many responding, it gives a good overview of how crime fiction is growing and developing.

In Part One, you can also see how your favorite writers feel about working during the pandemic and how they deal with the changes.

In Part Two, the writers suggest classic and new writers to seek. They also discuss how genres are constantly changing.

I hope you enjoy this overview of crime fiction, and maybe find a new author to discover.

Reacher or Hardboiled, here’s a little something for everyone

Opening a Mystery welcomes you and we hope we have a little something for everyone. Spring is coming. The clock has changed. Now we actually have an afternoon to enjoy. If you’ve been coming home from work in the dark, I’m sure you are doubly happy.

We are seeing a great time to be a crime fiction lover. Whether it is people looking back at the classics, or the number of future best-sellers that are coming out in the next few weeks, there is a little something, whether a book or a show, for everyone.

Reacher TV series on Amazon

Lee Cobb’s Reacher

Let’s start with Lee Lofland’s review of the first episode of Reacher. Reacher is the hero created by Lee Child, a powerful, quiet, no-nonsense type of guy. When trouble finds him, trouble is always sorry.

Lee Lofland is a former police investigator, former police academy instructor trainer, and acts as a consultant for several best-selling authors. He is also the founder and host for the Writers Police Academy. The Academy is a chance for authors to meet and receive training from trainers for law enforcement officers. I got to go to it a few years ago, and it was a blast. Continue reading

Canine Mystery Novels

Canine mystery officer

K-9 Detective

Canine mystery stories have long been popular with dog lovers and mystery readers. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us, considering how many people passionately love their pups, whether they’re the size of a rodent or a VW bug. In my house, our two little ankle biters are a huge part of our family. No discussion. And we wouldn’t want it any other way.

A canine mystery usually represents a dog in one of three ways, as a pet, as a dog on a job (K-9s), or telling the story from their point of view.

Humans often have a special connection with their dogs. Our first two dogs, sisters from different litters, had very different personalities. The youngest, a black miniature schnauzer, was nervous and became so attached to me she didn’t want anyone else, including our other dog, near me.

But the other dog, Polly, a salt-and-pepper, loved everyone and other dogs. She seemed to have a connection where she knew when to play and when we needed just to chill. When we had a death in our family, she was the one who climbed on the couch beside us and laid her head on our laps.

Some dogs just have that special connection. And that works well with the emotions characters encounter in dog mystery or K-9 mystery stories. Continue reading

Legal Thrillers

The legal thriller is one of my favorite genres of crime fiction. Legal thrillers let me into the world of courtrooms, suits, lawyers, paralegals, and their innocent, not so innocent, and some down-right shady clients. It’s in the legal thriller that we get a chance to see the justice system at work. The newspaper can tell us what happened. A legal thriller can tell us the stories and characters behind the possible headline. Allegedly.

The authors set many of their legal thrillers in a courtroom. They take a case after the police or investigators have completed their work and then we watch them take it through court. Often, it’s when the case is being tried that new evidence comes up. Think of the lawyer in the light-gray suit, Matlock.

But showing the courtroom isn’t necessary. In Marcia Clark’s Guilt by Association, Los Angeles D. A. Rachel Knight is a prosecutor who becomes involved in her colleague’s murder. We don’t see her take the case to trial, but we do watch as she investigates and interacts with the people involved. Continue reading

The Locked Room Mysteries

The locked room mysteries, also known as the impossible crime or closed-circle mystery, is not really a genre. But the popularity of this type oif story can’t be argued.  As the name implies, the crime, usually a murder but can be a robbery, occurred in a room that is found locked or otherwise sealed.

A Locked Room Mystery

One of the earliest examples of the locked room mysteries is The Murders in the Rue Morgue, by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and the unnamed narrator became interested in a newspaper story of a lady and her daughter who the authorities found dead in their fourth story room. The mother had many broken bones and her head fell off when they moved the body, while someone strangled the daughter and stuffed her up the chimney. The officials found the room locked from the inside, meaning the key would be inside the room. I will let you discover how Edgar handled this on your own. Continue reading

Historical Mystery


Historical mystery is the party mix version of crime fiction genres—it contains a little something for everyone. It can include history, romance, travel, politics, true crime, archeology, and of course, a crime. To be a historical mystery, the author places the story in a historical era from the author’s viewpoint, and the plot involves the solving of a crime. The difference between a historical mystery and a classic mystery comes from the writer’s perspective.

Today, we see all of Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe’s stories as being back in history. But the author wrote them in their present day. Christie did write what is probably the first historical mystery, Death Comes as the End. Continue reading

Paranormal Suspense


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Paranormal suspense

October has arrived and what better time could there be to discuss paranormal thrillers. This is the time of year when we turn our attentions to ghosts and ghouls. With Halloween approaching quickly, I enjoy thinking about a world that includes multiple dimensions.

Paranormal suspense considers a world that contains certain phenomena that are outside the realm of scientific explanation which science may explain one day. The genre includes: Continue reading

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