I have an idea for a short story. It will be the first mystery I've written, and only the second story. From what I have read on the subject, It seems to be unfair to "hold back" whodunnit once your PI has determined the culprit. Can't it be held back a little? I have 2 PI's, and I want a brief scene where one realizes who it is (but we aren't told), then another brief scene where the other one has the same revelation, then a phone conversatiion where they declare simultaneously who the culprit is. Is that going to be considered "unfair"?
Nah, unfair? Hardly! I think it can makes thinks a lot better! I usually write in the third person, and I hold back a lot of things. I have a friend with is an actual writer (with published books and all - i'm just a writer wannabe) who says it sounds like the writer is... Betraying the reader when he does that.
Which is why he doesn't like third person all that much. Me, I love third person cause one can actually hold back things. And even if it is first person, think of Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Talk about holding things back!
I say go for it :D
The whole purpose of writing is to create something
entertaining. If holding back makes a better story, then
go for it!;)
But of course not! The best time to reveal the cuprit is at the very end of the story, or a little before. I, for instance hate when the writers tell "whodunnit" and continues with a long scene of the detective going after the culprit, before the end making us believe that there's something else. Mystery stories are that, the reader, trying to discovery before the detective tell us the solution, not a new kind of action books.