The Place for Mystery Since 1995
MysteryNet Home
TV Movies

Buy through our affiliates:
•  Mystery Guild Book Club
•  Buy Books
•  Buy Games

Using Discussion

Registering (FREE—required to post)

• Subscribe   • Edit Posts   • Personal Profile

Customization & Tools (For Members)

 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Books & Authors  / Genres and Themes  / Themes  /

Social Issues Mysteries
I have found that mystery stories based on current social issues seem to capture the reader's interest much more readily than the more common approaches. For example, I recently completed two short stories, the first based on the accidental meeting of a recovering alcoholic and a practicing drug addict; the second, the case of an infant kidnapped from a hospital nursery and the child's surprising relationship to the kidnapper.

Both addiction and child kidnapping themes are prominent in the news today, making them--in my opinion--perfect as mystery themes.

I would be interested in hearing if others agree with my conclusion, especially fellow mystery writers.

Hugh Drummond - 06:31am Jun 2, 1999 PST(#1 of 5)
" I have a criminal mind... I see bad in everyone," (Mr. J.G. Reeder)

Haven't they always been though. I, one of the two custodians of the Charmley Collection of English Mystery literature of the 1920s and '30s (A private collection), have noted that such themes were current as far back as the period covered by the collection. In my work as a writer, I find that covering current issues (such as the Islamist millitants) can be awfully satisfying.


Steven Torres - 02:05pm Jun 22, 1999 PST(#2 of 5)

A question and a comment (or two). First, the original post doesn't mention in which way the newsworthy event plays a part of the story - for instance is the kidnapping the crime to be solved by some third party? Or is it an incidental part of a larger story?

Second, what is prominent in the news today may be passe when the story is published. That is to say, I wouldn't consider something in today's paper as automatically sellable. (I'm not sure that's what you meant.)Drugs and alcohol, have staying power, however.

Last, all that said, if the story depicts any interaction with society, (locked room stories may be an exception) it will need to make a comment, take a stance, on social issues.

P Marlowe - 11:42am Jul 7, 1999 PST(#3 of 5)
Glenview 7537 - Hollywood

Absolute Power certainly dealt with social (and political) issues of those in power and the availability of possible abuse of power. Many mysteries and their writers deal with current affairs' issues such as spousal/child abuse, courtroom gymnastics and international intrigue and terrorism.

Hugh Drummond - 04:05am Sep 20, 1999 PST(#4 of 5)
" I have a criminal mind... I see bad in everyone," (Mr. J.G. Reeder)

Sydney Horler and Nazism. Horler, in the late 1930s wrote a number of thrillers in which agents of the evil Khunnereich loomed large. Khunnereich was, of course, a thinly disguised Hitler.


Mike Stein - 12:41pm Jan 4, 2001 PST(#5 of 5)

I'm trying to identify a book. Don't know author or title. Published within the last 4 years. Set in the US in the near future. About a young lawyer, new associate in a law firm, who specializes in computer and software matters. He is assigned a pro bono case where he must defend a man accused of killing his wife's lover. Because the lover was deaf, it is being prosecuted as a hate crime--much pro and con discussion of hate crime laws. Subplot about identifying abnormalities in criminals' brains via computer--much discussion of its use as a criminal defense. Can anyone help me?

 Read Subscriptions  Search  New User Registration  Login

 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Books & Authors  / Genres and Themes  / Themes  / Social Issues Mysteries

In Association with

Support MysteryNet

Start Your Amazon
Shopping Here: