Favorite Mysteries That Are Not Books [Mystery Month]

Yes, I do more than reading and writing.

I play video games, I watch TV (rarely, but I do), and… Well, that’s kind of it.

Favorite Mystery Non-Books


This was a TV show that ran from 2006 to 2014. It was the best show ever and I was super disappointed when I found out it was over.

The protagonist, Shawn, pretended to be psychic to get out of some criminal charges and he ended up working for them solving crimes as their psychic. Tagging along was his best friend Gus, and two Detectives, Juliet and Carlton.

It was a funny show and I loved watching it with my sisters. I was sad when Netflix took it down because I have yet to collect the series on DVD. If you haven’t watched it, it’s a must.

There are books based off the show that are great as well.

Pretty Little Liars

This is another TV show that started in 2010 and just ended yesterday. Honestly, I’m not sure how this show has lasted seven years because the more I watched it, the more I found it ridiculous. I haven’t watched the last two seasons, but I do plan to at some point. I am curious how it ends.

This was a tough mystery to help solve because no matter what you thought, the opposite thing happened. Still, it kept you at the edge of your seat.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

I’m sure you’re all sick of me talking about this one. This is a video game where you play as a defense lawyer, investigate, and solve crimes in court. It’s a silly game and has a lot of fantasy antics, but it’s a great one.

The mysteries are in-depth and the character development is phenomenal.

Professor Layton

Similar to Ace Attorney, Professor Layton is another mystery video game where you play as an archeologist who has a love of puzzles and riddles. Because of that, he often gets hired to help solve certain mysteries, which are usually crimes. As you investigate in the game, you come across a plethora of puzzles and riddles. It’s a lot of fun mind games.

Though I’ll admit, I usually play with Kris because while I love riddles, I’m not that great at them.

Criminal Case

I found this game on Facebook, but it is an app on my iPad. It’s a simple game and there’s not true “story,” but you solve crimes finding clues through look-and-find games.

That’s basically the whole game, but I find look-and-find games to be fun. I recently just heard of another one, that’s more in-depth in the story, but I haven’t played it myself yet.

What are some other hobbies you enjoy other than books? Let me know in the comments below!

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How To Properly Research For Your Mystery Novel [Mystery Month]

Sure, fiction is made up, but there’s still a lot of truth to what we put down on the pages of our story.

When it comes to writing mystery, you still want to be as accurate as you can in order to make the story believable. It doesn’t want to read as fiction.

So, what can you do to make sure you’re solving your crime the right way?

How To Research For Mystery Novels

1. Read books

Read any kinds of books and read a lot of them. Read fictional mystery novels as well as true crime novels. You’ll see how other authors do it fictionally and you’ll also get a feel for the real deal reading about true crimes that have actually happened.

There are also craft books you can read about writing mysteries as well as learning about detectives and criminal justice. Not to mention, you can always thumb through a study guide of the police exam to get a feel for what they have to go through in order to get to where they are in your story when the crime happens.

2. Talk to people

I know, none of us want to talk to people, but sometimes it’s necessary and it helps a lot. If you know anyone who is going to school in the criminal justice field or who is currently undergoing the Police Academy, or someone who is an officer or detective, get in touch with them and ask questions. There’s nothing better than an original source itself.

3. Take classes

Instead of talking to people who are currently going to school for this kind of thing, why don’t you take a couple of courses yourself? Sometimes you can even find the syllabi online and you can look up the textbooks yourself and read up on it without spending a lot of money.

There are also courses on writing websites, such as Writer’s Digest, where you can take courses specializing in writing mystery and crime. Those don’t come cheap, but I’ve heard they’re worth it.

4. Watch TV

This isn’t the best piece of advice, but there are plenty of crime shows on TV. Most of them fudge the process a bit for the sake of entertainment and comedy, but there are still some truths in there. At the very least, you can learn what not to do in your novel.

5. Take to the Internet

Google isn’t always reliable, but it is your friend. Be sure to look up information on certain towns and cities that your mystery novel takes place in. Look up the laws and regulations and go on the town’s main homepage and be sure you’re writing close to home about the location. Plus, you can look up a lot of other stuff, like the points I just mentioned above.

Research can be tedious, but it can definitely be fun as well.

How do you typically research for your novel? Do you enjoy researching? What are some other research methods you use? Let me know in the comments below!

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Short Story Sunday 166: Explanation (Part Four)

Short Story Sunday: "Explantion" (Part four) | Mystery


Nadine entered the room once more, but this time with the maid right behind her. “Detective,” Nadine said, “this is our maid, Vicky.”

Lilah took George’s lead and stood up once the maid entered the room. She looked the maid up and down trying to get a good read on her before they started talking.

Vicky was on the younger side. She stood taller than Nadine, despite her boss wearing three-inch heels. Her make-up was heavy on her face and her expression claimed boredom.

When George stretched out his hand to her, Nadine stepped aside and Vicky took a step back. George remained where he was waiting, but Lilah had a feeling she wasn’t going to willingly cooperate.

“Well, the pleasure’s mine.” George finally said bringing his arm back down by his side.

Vicky glared at him and Lilah narrowed her eyes at her. George must have suspected her of something, otherwise he wouldn’t have wanted to talk to her. She had a feeling Vicky knew that as well. The only thing was, Lilah couldn’t tell if Vicky was being defensive because she was nervous or if it was because she knew she was about to get caught.

“Could I have a moment alone with the detective, please?” Vicky asked politely to her boss.

“Oh,” Nadine looked over at George, who nodded. After a disappointed sigh, Nadine ushered her kids out of the room and followed closely behind them.

When they were out of earshot, Vicky snapped her attention back to George and Lilah. “Well, get to it. I don’t have all day.”

“Surely you know what I’m about to say.” George replied.

Vicky folded her arms across her chest and held her chin up high. “Whatever you have to say isn’t true. And, I want a lawyer present if I’m going to talk to you.”

“You want a witness, yet you just kicked your boss out of the room?” George commented.

“Oh, please. Nadine can’t help me.” Vicky looked him up and down looking disgusted.

“And why would you need the help?”

“Because you’re asking too many questions,”

“We’ve barely begun.”

There was a sudden standstill. Vicky didn’t have a good enough comeback and George remained calm under pressure as always. Lilah found herself relaxing her shoulders. Vicky didn’t seem to be much of a threat despite her clearly having something to hide.

Vicky drew in a sharp breath. “I want a lawyer first.”

“If you want a lawyer, then I’m to assume you have something to hide.” George remarked.

Vicky narrowed her eyes. She opened her mouth to say something, but Nadine entered the room.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” she said looking at Vicky, “but there’s a couple of police officers here.” She turned to look at George. “An Officer Florence? He said you called him.”

“Ah, perfect timing. Send him in.” George smiled.

“What’s your brother doing here?” Lilah whispered.

“I texted him. This case is about to be over.” George whispered back.

Nadine stepped to the side and Barney entered the room. He put his hands on his hips and stared at George expectantly.

“Ms. Vicky would like a lawyer before she says anything. Which is perfect since we’ll have to take her down to the station anyway.”

Vicky glared at George again and Barney sighed. “Is this your disappearing and reappearing car case?”

George nodded. “I had a hunch that Vicky had something to do with it, but then, while we were talking to Nadine’s children, I saw Vicky outside the window talking to a woman over the fence in the garden.”

Lilah looked to her left. She didn’t pay too much attention to outside the window, but sure enough, there was the garden. And no one was around there now.

“I had a hunch that I recognized the woman. Vicky, who were you talking to?” George asked.

“My… sister.” She reluctantly replied once Nadine stared her down.

“Does she work here?”


“Why was she here?”

“That’s none of your business.”

“Well,” George continued, “why did you guys have to talk in hushed tones over the fence where no one could see you? Why didn’t she come in?”

“Yes, why didn’t she? You know she’s welcome anytime.” Nadine added. Vicky stared at Nadine, but didn’t respond.

“She didn’t want you guys to recognize her right away.” George said. “She was the woman in the video with your car.”

Nadine chuckled. “We all know her very well. There’s no way she stole the car and brought it back.”

“Because she had to boyfriends, husband, friend, whatever you want to call him do it. None of you recognize him, so it would be easy for Vicky and her sister to cover for him.” George explained.

Nadine held her hand up as though she was a young kid in school. “But our gardener…”

“Hasn’t been seen since the car was taken, correct?” George asked.

Nadine pressed her lips together.

“You forgot to tell me about the gardener the first time I spoke to you.” George said to Vicky. “I thought it was strange Lilah had notes about her and I didn’t. Now it’s becoming clear why you guys really took the car. You couldn’t do it because you’d be missed. Your sister couldn’t do it because everyone, including the kids, recognize her.

“You had your sister’s friend get friendly with the kids to trick them into letting him in the garage. It looked like a stranger broke in to steal from a rich family.” George explained.

“Why?” Barney asked.

George sighed looking at his brother. “Well, that’s where I pass this case off to you. It seems to me that this has turned into a missing person’s case… possibly homicide.”

Barney sighed shaking his head. He looked at Vicky and took out his handcuffs.

Words: 967

I hope you enjoyed this four-part mystery! Let me know in the comments below!

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Which POV Should Your Use For Your Mystery Novel? [Mystery Month]

It seems easy to answer the question, “Which POV should I use for my novel?” However, there’s a lot more to it than it seems.

The point of view of a story is who the narrator is, whether it’s a third person, the protagonist, a side character, or even you yourself (though that’s uncommon). Just like choosing the right character to be your protagonist, you want the right character to be your narrator, to show your readers around the story.

When it comes to writing mystery novels, the POV is super important. In my opinion, I believe there are some points of view that are suited better for mystery novels than others.

Choosing the right POV in mystery novels

First Person

First person point of view is when someone is telling you their story. The story is told from the “I” and “me” point of view.

I find this is a great method of telling a mystery story. The narrator can be a detective telling the story in which case the readers can get up close and personal with solving the mystery.

Second Person

This point of view is when “you” are being told what to do. The story is about you and the narrator is explaining all you did.

I have never seen a mystery novel written in this point of view, especially since second person is pretty uncommon, anyway.

Still, this may be an interesting way of conveying a mystery novel. Similar to first person, your readers will be able to solve the mystery alongside the narrator or protagonist and they’ll feel more apart of the story.

Third Person Limited

In this point of view, the narrator is a third party, particularly someone who is not in the story. However, you’re limited to one character in the novel. The narrator knows a lot but can be inside the head of one of the characters, most likely the protagonist of the story.

So, you won’t know much, but you can know a little bit more. This is another common point of view for mystery novels as you can get a little more information from the characters this way.

Third Person Omniscient

Very similar to third person limited, a third party who is not in the story is the narrator. However, you’re not limited to one character’s thoughts, but you know absolutely anything and everything there is to know about all the characters and everything that’s going on in the story.

While this point of view isn’t used often, I have seen a mystery novel or two use this point of view. I personally don’t agree with it because all the secrets end up getting revealed leaving no room for the reader to guess and try to solve anything themselves.

Which should you use?

This one is all up to you. It all depends on the kind of mystery you’re trying to tell. It depends on who your protagonists are and which one of your characters is important enough to convey the story, to show your readers around the plot.

For my mystery novel, I use third person limited and I follow around my female protagonist, Lilah. George, my male protagonist, is the detective. I chose to follow Lilah because she doesn’t know as much as George. She’s learning alongside the readers and she’s trying to figure things out with George and the readers.

At first, the novel was first person with George, then I had changed it to third person limited with George. Then, after another rewrite, I finally decided on third person limited with Lilah.

Choosing a point of view is harder than it seems, but if you’re unsure, the best thing to do is just experiment. Your characters will tell you what they want.

Just be sure not to choose something that will reveal too much to your readers. For example, like I said earlier, I don’t agree with using third person omniscient as it tends to give too much information away and can cause the readers to get bored.

Depending on your characters and the kind of mystery you’re writing about, a point of view may or may not come easily to you. However, like I said, your characters will be able to tell you. They did for me.

Which point of view is your favorite? Which one do you use most often and enjoy reading? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Importance Of Plot Twists [Mystery Month]

When it comes to writing any genre, plot twists are always a good, fun thing to have up your sleeve. When it comes to writing mysteries, plot twists can sometimes be essential.

You want the reader to figure it out, but you also want to blow their mind, right?

The importance of plot twists in mystery writing

A plot twist is exactly what it sounds like. The events in your story lead your readers to believe one thing and then suddenly, usually towards the end, something unexpected happens that twists the whole plot around.

It’s a surprise, it makes your readers keep turning the pages, sitting at the edge of their seat.

So, how do you write an awesome plot twist?

1. Reveal something big

When writing a mystery, revealing something big can be pretty easy to come by. Reveal an extra bad guy or even an unknown victim. Find a brand new piece of evidence. Or, let your detective reveal something huge about the case, something that answers some questions, but asks more questions.

2. Allow something unexpected to happen

In a way, this is similar to revealing something big, but allow something else to happen, something that your readers couldn’t see coming. This unexpected happening should be exciting, suspenseful, and add tension to the scene or story.

3. Use foreshadowing

Let your readers guess what could happen. Allow them to piece together flashbacks or certain evidence or dialogue that subtly hints at something. When the plot twist happens, readers should be shocked, looking back at what else has happened and piece it all together.

4. Use red herrings

Lead your readers off the track using fake evidence. A plot twist can be used revealing that the red herring is a fake or more red herrings show up. Or, maybe real evidence show up that chump the red herring and confuses everyone.

There are many ways to add a plot twist into your story. It’s all in how you convey the twist though.

The twist must be:

  • Full of tension
  • Suspenseful
  • Shocking and revealing
  • Out of the blue (but not so much that it seems random)

How much do you enjoy plot twists? What are some of your favorite ways to create a plot twist? Let me know in the comments below!

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What To Do When Your Mystery Novel Gets Stuck [Mystery Month]

I talk about outlining all the time, but even I don’t outline for everything.

For the past two years, I’ve written a four- or five-part mystery short story for Short Story Sunday using George and Lilah as the protagonists. I’d get a random title in mind and a plot would spark from there.

That didn’t happen this year.

I’ve been writing this month’s mystery short story as the month went on. I easily wrote the first part and second part, but then I got stuck.

What to do when you get stuck writing a mystery novel

It’s always such a pain when you get stuck on any story, but when you get stuck on a mystery plot, it’s tough to get yourself out of it. Everything has to be pieced together and make sense. When you don’t know what’s going on, it’s hard to tie it all together.

So, what do you do?

1. Reread what you previously wrote

I know there are people out there who say not to reread what you wrote the day before. I don’t understand why, but I think it helps to reread it. It reminds me where I left off and what I already talked about. Especially when writing mystery, you have to remember what clues the characters had already found and such.

2. Ask, “What If?

If you’re unsure of where to go next ask yourself, “What if this happened…?” New ideas will surely arrive, no matter how far fetched they seem. Still, you can take what you already wrote and rewrite something or use what you already have to create something brand new.

3. Take a step back and outline what you can

Yes, I’m bringing outlining back. No, I’m not telling you to outline your whole story. However, there are certain questions you can ask yourself. If you can answer them, great. Then you can figure out what to do next in your story.

4. Take a break

Step away from the story and let your mind rest. That’s all there is to it. When you get back to it, new ideas might arise for you.

5. Work on something else

I guess this goes along with “take a break,” but you can always work on something else. You’ll be writing, but you’ll be taking a break from your original story.

Getting stuck on your writing is never fun, but there are plenty of was to get out of it and keep going.

Want to check out a great post on writer’s block? Check out this post by Jerry Jenkins!

What do you do when you get stuck on your writing? Let me know in the comments below!

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