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Mystery Notes. Pattern of most mysteries. Peaceful state : pre-crime, everything is normal in the character’s world. Usually does not last long. Crime takes place : This begins the conflict and rising action of your mystery

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pattern of most mysteries
Pattern of most mysteries
  • Peaceful state: pre-crime, everything is normal in the character’s world. Usually does not last long.
  • Crime takes place: This begins the conflict and rising action of your mystery
  • False clues/false location of guilt: This is the rising action of your mystery. Most of the action will take place here. Typically this is where the investigating will occur.

Solution/true location of guilt: This is where the crime is actually solved and the conflict is over; typically the CLIMAX

  • Confession of explanation of crime: The detective and/or culprit will explain the why and how of the crime.
  • Peaceful state: Peacefulness returns to the life of the characters. Life may or may not be altered from the pre-crime state.
five elements of detective stories
Five elements of detective stories
  • Setting and characters
    • The number of characters must be limited in order to limit the amount of suspects
    • Setting should be one where a crime will shock the reader (should not be too predictable)


    • There must be characters who don’t like the victim
    • The victim must be good enough that you want to actually SOLVE the mystery


    • Must not be obvious to the reader or to the detective


    • Must have motive
    • Must be something “shady” about each one
    • Should have lack of faith in other suspects (“finger pointing”)


    • Should not be motivated by money
    • Should be a stranger
    • Should not be involved in the crime
mystery terminology
Mystery terminology
  • Red herring – a false clue meant to throw a reader or detective off the right track
  • Sleuth – another word for detective
  • Motive - The cause for someone’s actions (reason)
  • Summon - order to appear at a certain place
let s solve a mystery
Let’s solve a mystery!

The Fibber

Barney called the police to report a burglary. Detective Finemind answered the call and arrived on the scene. “What did they steal?” he asked.

“All my wife’s jewelry, the TV, VCR, CD player, and computer,” Barney told him. “All the big ticket items. They got in through this window,” he explained.

The window did look as though it had been jimmied.

The two men went outside to examine it. Sure enough, the bottom of the window frame was scraped and scratched. A crowbar lay on the ground.


“Hey, that’s my crowbar,” Barney Fibber said, “That belongs in the garage.”

“Are the stolen items insured?” Detective Finemind asked.

“Oh yes,” Barney answered. “That’s the only good thing about all this.”

“Did they take any big items from the garage?” the detective asked. “Lawn mower, power tools?”

“Nope,” said Barney. “The door’s still locked. It doesn’t even look as though they went in there.”

“Sorry Mr. Fibber,” said Finemind, getting out his handcuffs. “I’m going to have to arrest you for fraud. You robbed yourself didn’t you?”