Mystery Elements Powerpoint - christopher-coles

 A narrative that involves a crime or intriguing problem
which the plot is built. The main character (sleuth)
embarks on a search to reveal the hidden secrets to
explain the clue-based events, find truth, and solve the
problem. The focus is on the character and actions of
a person solving a crime rather than on the criminal or
victims of the crime.
 To involve the reader in the characters’ quest (speculations
and predictions) to solve an intriguing problem
 To engage the reader in the excitement of suspense leading
to the thrill of the solution
 To engage the reader in gathering clues, analyzing clues, and
 To intrigue/entertain the reader with questions who did it,
what happened and why, and if and when the crime or
problem will be solved
 Follow narrative structure and contains narrative elements:
characters in setting with the problem, creating conflict or
tension through events leading to a climax, then a final
 Sometimes classified as historical fiction, adventure, and
realistic fiction
 Suspense is the chief element
 Includes various subgenres which are defined by the
inclusion of public and private detectives as well as
 Progressively revealed as character discovers clues to
react to events
 Main characters are fully developed and realistic
 Supporting characters are flat, or underdeveloped
 The protagonist is the detective, sleuth, or main character, and is
fully developed through descriptions of appearance, actions,
speech, opinions and what others say and think about him or her
 The antagonist is the villain; suspects are also presented as
possible villains
 The victim is a target of an evil deed
 Character reactions to clue-based events provide hints/motives
 Mood (typically dark, dreary, mysterious, scary)
 Can be important or backdrop (unimportant)
depending on the type of crime or mystery
 Focused on a crime, puzzle or unusual problem to solve
 Progressive, complex plot development leads to successful
resolution which includes a:
1. Series of interrelated events
2. Strategically placed clues(e.g. fingerprints, letters, notes, secret
codes) are revealed by observing characters’ actions and motives
3. Progression of “discoveries”
4. Development:
a. Conflict = Crime
b. Strategically placed clues and character reactions to
c. Climax involving interactions between sleuth and
d. Conclusion revealing motive and resolutions of crime
Author’s craft:
 Development of interrelated, suspenseful events
 Use of foreshadowing (inclusion of clues to solve the mystery)
 Suspenseful cliffhanger chapter endings compel the reader to
 Red herring (clues) throw reader off track
 Infusing clues for the reader
 1. Hints provided through dialogues
 2. Hints provided by characters’ actions, and observing and their
Adapted from:
The Genre Project of the Michigan Department of