Some people say that there are two kinds of crime-fiction writer:

  1. mystery writers
  2. thriller writers

What’s the difference?

  1. Mystery novels are also called ‘whodunits’ as the main interest is in working out who did the crime or possibly in seeing how the detective goes about working it out.  The purest form of mystery is rather like a crossword puzzle or a game of chess: cerebral and dispassionate.  They are often slow-moving.
  2. Thrillers are emotional.  They involve violence, suspense, tension and shocks.  You might know who did the crime, or who is going to do it, but are interested in the chase.  They are usually fast-paced.

Which do I prefer?

  • I think the distinction is a bit artificial.  A lot of crime-fiction stories contain elements of both.  There is something of a spectrum.  Some are undoubtedly nearer one end than the other but few are at either extremity.
  • On the whole, I tend to prefer the ones that contain an intellectual puzzle to the all-action adventures with little mystery in them.
  • However, it depends on my mood and on the quality of the particular writer.

What of my own crime-fiction writing?

  • My first novel will be largely a ‘whodunit’ but there will be plenty of action, violence, suspense, and probably shocks along the way.
  • I hope it will arouse your emotions at times as well as your intellect.
  • You will have to decide for yourself whether it should be classed as a thriller, a mystery-thriller or just a mystery with a few thrills.  In the end the reader is my judge.

Some people have other ways of classifying crime-fiction novels.  I will say something about those in another blog soon.

Whatever you call it, I hope you like it.