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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  /

How important are clues in mystery books
 
Morgan St. James - 01:46am Jul 12, 2011 PST
Writes mystery novels, short stories, column-Las Vegas Examiner (Books and Writing)

Clues and they way they are "dropped" into mysteries can intrigue a reader, confound them, confuse them or challenge them. The lack of clues can anger a reader. It is no fun to have a twist or solution dropped on you at the end of a book or story with no prior indication. Do you believe the reader deserves some valid clues to solve the mystery, even if it was a very subtle clue buried in prose at the beginning of the book?

Do you get angry when a surprise ending comes "out of the blue?"


Fran Hinkel - 04:54am Sep 14, 2011 PST(#1 of 3)
You can check out anytime you like...but you can never leave!

Definitely need clues, whether direct or indirect, otherwise people can just make up any ending and it doesn't even have to make all that much sense. The reader deserves a chance to try to figure out on their own what is happening, even if they are wrong! You need that "AHA" moment for the solution.


Barbara Bassett - 01:04pm Jul 23, 2012 PST(#2 of 3)
(pseudonym of B.L.McAllister)

One mystery I read recently (Murder on Safari, by Elspeth Huxley) tossed in, at the denouement, page citations of each clue used in the solution. This deals with a problem that could (maybe) arise at times, in which a reader might say, "well, I don't recall anything like that being shown!" I'm not sure how difficult inserting those references was for the author and publisher, but it seems like a useful idea to me.


Fran Hinkel - 06:49am Jul 26, 2012 PST(#3 of 3)
You can check out anytime you like...but you can never leave!

Oh, I love that idea - coming from a reader's viewpoint.

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / How important are clues in mystery books

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