Talk:Mystery fiction

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This article is redundant: should be merged with detective fiction, perhaps under the title "Mystery and Detective Fiction." What do you say? Bds yahoo 23:08, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This belongs more at WP:VFD than on Speedy Deletion. I'll put it there shortly. ugen64 03:48, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks. 03:57, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Votes for deletion[edit]

This article was on votes for deletion, the consensus was to keep it. See the archived discussion for further details.
If the consensus was to keep this page isn't it time to remove the deletion banner? Martha1958 22:57, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

History Section[edit]

What, no mention of Sherlock Holmes? I assure you, the popularity of mystery stories is not entirely because of the actions of the Hardy Boys.Phoenix Song 02:47, 5 August 2005 (UTC)


Most noticeably, the summary for this article seems to be incorrect. The summary claims "Mystery fiction is a distinct subgenre of detective fiction ... [but] it does not require a crime to have occurred." The article for detective fiction claims that "Detective fiction is a branch of crime fiction," and crime fiction obviously requires a crime to have occurred. For mystery fiction to be a subgenre of detective fiction, it must also be a subgenre of crime fiction, which this article's summary rules out.

I would contend that mystery fiction is not a subgenre of detective fiction at all. More likely, detective fiction descends from both crime fiction and mystery fiction, since detective fictions involve both crime and mystery. If this is true, then the remainder of the article is likely incomplete, since it mostly covers novels that do not fit under the smaller umbrella of detective fiction. AbsoluteFlatness 02:52, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree--this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Unfortunately, I'm not well-informed enough to rewrite it competently. --Wintersweet 05:08, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I believe that one main point must be the distinction between the AE and BE definition of mystery. In the United States mystery is used as some kind of 'overall' term, but not in Europe (crime fiction).

I don't know about British usage, but I think that in the US, "mystery" is the broadest term. I am presently having a debate with another mystery fan about whether or not there is a difference between "mystery" and "detective fiction" (although we both agree that "mystery" is NOT a subdivision. Our debate is whether or not virtually all mysteries are detective fiction, since someone has to solve the mystery. Do amateurs like Miss Marple qualify as detectives, since they acquire a reputation as a sleuth? Do protagonists who are not professionals and appear in only one story (as in most Dick Francis novels) qualify as a detective? Some appear to feel that detective fiction necessarily involves a crime, whereas I would agree that not all mysteries involve crimes. Beth Root

The above criticism (in the first two comments) of the wording of the text - before I corrected - is well taken. Mystery fiction is an umbrella for a genre that encompasses detective fiction, not vice versa. I'm primarily a science fiction writer (who writes sf/mysteries), and a former President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Some of our members also wrote mysteries, and I have a pretty good knowledge of the field. Regarding Miss Marple, etc: in detective fiction, there are amateur detectives, police procedurals, private eyes, etc. PaulLev 06:51, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

external link section spam[edit]

All external links except for "Mystery Writers of America", "A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection" and "Crime Fiction" seems rather book mail-order spam and advertising to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 18:26, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

The first mystery novel?[edit]

Wikipedia's page on William Godwin states the his book Things as They Are or The Adventures of Caleb Williams is considered to be the first true mystery novel. It predates Poe's work by some four decades. Well? —Morganfitzp 13:57, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

Mary Roberts Rinehart should be mentioned in the history[edit]

You might want to include the different types of mysteries, such as locked room mysteries. Also, you failed to mention Mary Roberts Rinehart, but she had a big part in the history of mystery fiction. Her first mystery novel, The Circular Staircase, was published in 1908. She was a very successful mystery author and set the stage for Agatha Christie's success in the 1920's. Contact if he is still active, Allen J Hubin, probably the most knowledgable recent reviewer and critic--SHAMON 18:39, 10 March 2007 (UTC)


Since this article is on almost the same subject as crime_fiction it should be merged with that one. -Catneven 10:49, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, I don't know if it needs to be merged, but something needs to be changed. It might be a US vs. British usage issue; I'm not sure. For example, 99% of what I would write about mystery fiction (which is THE genre name as far as I'm concerned--and, I think, American libraries and bookstores agree) is listed under either crime_fiction or detective_fiction. Maybe all three need to be merged, but I don't know what the final page would be called, since obviously people disagree on the subject. --Wintersweet 19:38, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

My understanding is that "crime fiction" differs from "detective fiction" in that not all crime fiction contains a detective, but all detective fiction contains a crime. For instance, the novels of Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark are about crime but contain no characters who aren't criminals -- therefore they are crime fiction but not detective fiction. And "mystery fiction" must contain a mystery, per se -- therefore the inverted detective story qualifies as both detective fiction and crime fiction but not mystery fiction. I think the overarching article would be "crime fiction" because I cannot think of any detective fiction and/or mystery fiction that doesn't contain a crime of some sort... but I think crime fiction would contain novels like Crime and Punishment that most people don't think of as belonging to the category we're discussing. I have some reference books, not at my hand at the moment, that may shed some light on this and will report back. I certainly agree this article needs work, wherever the information within it ends up. Accounting4Taste 20:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
As a Brit, I'd agree with Wintersweet that there is a UK/US difference in terminolgy here. In my experience UK bookshops and libraries now normally categorise this kind of book as "crime fiction", although people in general more often call it "detective fiction". My understanding of the UK usage is that "detective fiction" was the normal term in the early years of the genre, but "crime fiction" came into use when critics began to treat the genre as "serious" writing after the Second World War. Once the "crime fiction" category came into use, other (non-detective) fiction about crime was naturally also included in it, so the "crime fiction" category is broader than "detective fiction". As far as I know, "mystery fiction" is not really used as a category in the UK; however the term mystery is used to describe particular books. I've always assumed (possibly wrongly) that the US category of "mystery fiction" is pretty much the same as the UK category of "detective fiction", but I'm not sure how the use of "crime fiction" compares between the two, or what the situation is in other English speaking parts of the world. Eleanor Y 15:22, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Mystery fiction, on the one hand, and Crime fiction/Detective fiction, on the other, have existed as separate genre names for too long to be mixed now. And they are not exactly the same thing - a mystery novel is based on a mystery, and a detective/crime novel is based on a crime. The whole mood and enjoyment is different. A crime is something that happens every day; a mystery is something that captures the imagination. What would The Da Vinci Code be without the mystery in it? Definitely not an international(!) bestseller. Also, encyclopedias, as reference books, are supposed to branch out. The great thing about wikipedia is that I could check first the crime fiction article, then the detective fiction article, and then the mystery fiction article. Please don't stop me from enjoying Wikipedia!

move to mystery?[edit]

Shouldn't this just be moved to mystery? MahangaTalk 01:56, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

A specific novel[edit]

There was a link to a specific mystery novel (The Big Bow Mystery by Israel Zangwill which I've moved to the locked room mystery article because it said that I believe it is more appropriate there -- it seems as though the links for this article should all have to do with the topic of mysteries in general and not to a specific novel. Besides, the same link is available through the Israel Zangwill article. Accounting4Taste 03:06, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Mystery does not mean 'crime fiction'[edit]

Try limit the references to crime and detective fiction. It makes it seem like that's all mystery fiction is. They've already got their own articles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Casting vote let the plain name be the disambig page Anthony Appleyard (talk) 22:38, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Mystery (fiction)MysteryMystery currently redirects here, therefore this article has already been recognized as the primary target for the term "Mystery". As such, the qualifier "(fiction)" is unnecessary. —Neelix (talk) 00:05, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Comment I think the dab page should be in the primary location instead. (talk) 05:35, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Support as nominator - The vast majority of incoming links to Mystery refer to the concept in fiction. Mystery (fiction) is justly recognized as the primary article. Neelix (talk) 14:34, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Looks like a good number of the incoming links are TV and film related and should be to Mystery film instead of Mystery (fiction). I'm not convinced that there is in fact a primary use here. The history of Mystery shows a slow battle between having Mystery point to the dab page and Mystery (fiction). So unless there is clear and convincing evidence that there is a primary use, the proposed move should not happen and the dab page should be moved to Mystery. Vegaswikian (talk) 22:45, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose and concur with Vegaswikian that the dab page should be moved to Mystery. Propaniac (talk) 18:04, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Narrowness of scope[edit]

The current page implies mystery stories are always about a crime being investigated by a detective. However, to my knowledge, a mystery is any story which presents one or more mysteries at the start, gives clues to solve this mystery throughout the story, then solves this mystery at the end of the story, regardless of whether a crime was involved in a mystery. agrees with me:

a novel, short story, play, or film whose plot involves a crime or other event that remains puzzlingly unsettled until the very end

I'm not well versed in literature, so I can't give any literature examples, but for example the visual novel Ever17 features a story where the mysteries are 'why did this incident occur?' and 'why are there impossible differences between the stories in the different playthroughs?', lots of hints are given throughout the entire game and the entire thing isn't solved until the final playthrough. Surely this would count as a mystery, even though no crime is committed during the entire story? VDZ (talk) 13:06, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

WorldCat Genres[edit]

Hello, I'm working with OCLC, and we are algorithmically generating data about different Genres, like notable Authors, Book, Movies, Subjects, Characters and Places. We have determined that this Wikipedia page has a close affintity to our detected Genere of mystery-fiction. It might be useful to look at [1] for more information. Thanks. Maximilianklein (talk) 23:41, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

The difference between fact and theory[edit]

"as people began to read over time, they became more individualistic in their thinking. As people became more individualistic in their thinking, they developed a respect for human reason and the ability to solve problems."

The above statement is a theory, not a fact, and should not be stated as a fact. I don't even know where to begin with how problematic this theory is. For the purpose of this article I think we need to stick with measurable facts i.e. when the first mystery fiction was published, when and where mystery fiction became popular. And leave hypothesizing about why for the scholars. Or have a section listing theories of why it is popular. But as it stands the above quote is entirely inappropriate. Sheherazahde (talk) 00:26, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

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