12 Types of Mystery Genres [Mystery Month]

Each and every genre in the world has many different branches to it. There are so many subgenres when it comes to the mystery genre. It came sometimes be hard to pinpoint to which subgenre you’re reading or writing, especially if there are a couple different subgenres thrown into the mix.

Still, mystery can be perceived in many different ways when it comes to it being comical, hardcore, or real life-like.

12 Types of Mystery Subgenres | Mystery Writing | Mystery | Creative Writing | Mystery Month | RachelPoli.com

Caper

A caper mystery is a comical one. Whether it involves a bumbling detective or odd-duck witnesses, the story is funny and allows the reader to relax and have a laugh… despite the dead body lying in the corner.

Cozy

The cozy mystery is something that’s usually light in tone. Even though a murder is involved, it happens in a small town, isn’t describes as too gruesome, or the sleuth is an amateur.

Domestic

This was a new one to me. I’ve seen many books like this but never thought it was its own subgenre. A domestic mystery includes mysteries involving a cat or dog (or any animal, really) where they more or less aid their owner in solving the crime. These can also include book club settings, bakeries, and the like.

Hardboiled

Hardboiled is what it sounds like. It’s a hardcore mystery where violence and gruesome details are involved. The detective is a professional, often fighting his own inner demons.

Investigator

This type of mystery involves the sleuth being a private investigator, an amateur, a nosy neighbor, or someone of the kind. It’s centralized who if figuring out the crime.

Noir

Noir is a classic that’s dark and gritty, with private investigators equipped with their good old trench coat.

Procedural

Procedural mysteries are heavily-researched in how the crime was solved using autopsy reports, forensic science, and the like. It’s the real-life stuff thrown into a fictional crime.

Softboiled

Softboiled mysteries are more or less the same as Hardboiled except their lighter in tone and they ease up a little on the details.

Supernatural/Paranormal

This is pretty straightforward since it’s its own genre. A mystery with ghostly like elements and messages from the unknown. It adds a little more spook to the mystery and certainly allows things to get pretty twisted.

Suspense

In suspense, the tension is high but it’s at a slower pace. It keeps the readers on their toes always guessing and turning the pages. The protagonist, or detective, is usually the one being pursued and has some sort of problem themselves they need to deal with.

Thriller

Similar to suspense, except the action is ongoing, the pace is fast, and the tension and stakes are high. This may or may not have anything to do with the protagonist or detective themselves, but their usually racing the clock.

True Crime

This is exactly as it sounds, a genre familiar to everyone. True crime is non-fiction mysteries telling tales of real-life murders and investigations.

What’s your favorite subgenre in mystery? Are there are any other subgenres you know about? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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40 thoughts on “12 Types of Mystery Genres [Mystery Month]

  1. An interesting selection. Although it fringes on others, I would be tempted to give a new (or one of the oldest) categories as ‘Deductive’ this would include the Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and Ellery Queen types.

    • I feel like they all intertwine with each other, but that’s another good one. I love Agatha Christie and I still have yet to read Sherlock Holmes…

  2. I love so many! I love caper, definitely procedural, also definitely supernatural…and thriller…and suspense!!! 😀

    • So many of them are great! It’s hard to pinpoint what genre you write, too. Mine is definitely caper, but with a few others mixed in.

      • Speaking of genre, what’s your take on the advice about only writing one? I’ve personally never been a fan, mainly because I like to write different things – while some people might like to only right one genre.

        But there’s a lot of advice I’m seeing telling new writers to stick with one as if being able to state “I’m a Romance Writer or I’m a YA writer” is important.

        I can appreciate what they are saying, but I’m not a fan of suggesting people compartmentalise themselves. What’s your thoughts?

        • I don’t agree with that either. I love mystery and the majority of my projects are in that genre, but I also love a good fantasy or literary fiction. I’ve also been experimenting with poetry which can be a new ballpark.

          I would hate to publish a mystery and then be locked into that genre for the rest of my life. There’s no growth otherwise for you or your writing.

          That’s one reason I’m going to self-publish. I don’t have to find an agent and/or publisher that sticks to certain genres. I can do what I want.

          I certainly see why people say to stick to one genre, but in the long run, I don’t see how it makes sense.

    • I would think so, yeah. I’m pretty sure you can mix and match genres. It’d be pretty hard to stick to just one, lol. Mine is a caper with a few others mixed in and I’m writing another series that has supernatural elements in it.

  3. I would also include a category for the literary mystery–murder and books–sometimes known as a bibliomystery.

Let me know your thoughts!

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