Three Mystery Deal-Breakers



I’ve noticed that an increasing percentage of my readers are writers. I read several genres, but one of my favorites is mystery, which includes everything similar, i.e., crime fiction, detective fiction, suspense, thriller, police procedural. And there are a few tired old saws that I never want to see again. The closer I creep to having read 1,000 books in this category, the less I like seeing these overused devices:


  • The protagonist must solve the crime because he or she has been framed for the murder, or is suspected by the authorities.


  • The protagonist must solve the crime, because a loved one, especially a child, is being threatened in some way or held hostage.


  • The trunk of the car, the trunk of the car, the back of the truck, the back of the van, tied up in the backseat with a blindfold, the trunk of the car. When the protagonist gets abducted and tossed into a vehicle, especially in the damn trunk, I pause, roll my eyes, and breathe deeply. If the author chooses to do this and I am still engaged by their writing, it makes that author a total bad ass; however, it would still be awesome if you could avoid this.