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  • Writer's pictureHeather Moll

Can mysteries be romantic?

If you look at my Goodreads shelf, you’ll see I read a ton of mysteries, far more than romance or Jane Austen variations. After my mother gave me Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a child, that led to Poe and Christie, and eventually do Doyle and hardboiled detectives, to police procedurals with gritty realism and to cozy mysteries with amateur sleuths. Now, I read mostly historical mysteries with a strong slow burn romance element. Anne Perry, Deanna Raybourn, Anne Lee Huber, and Andrea Penrose are some of my faves.

The modern detective story has its roots in Poe’s Dupin in Murder in the Rue Morgue, and we all know Sherlock Holmes from decades later, and Hercule Poirot and Philip Marlow from the 1920s and 30s. But focus on the procedure and the detective isn’t the only style of mystery. Amateur sleuths in mystery fiction focus more on the how and the why, and there tends to be more connection the main character’s life outside of the mystery being solved.

Just like the romance genre has to have a HEA or a HFN, mysteries also have their own “must haves”. Mysteries are genre fiction with an element or crime—or murder in the case of An Appearance of Goodnessthat remains unknown until the end. There’s a closed circle of suspects, all with a motive and opportunity to commit the crime. The main character is the one who solves the puzzle based on the same clues known to the reader.

In An Appearance of Goodness, Darcy suspects foul play and he and Elizabeth must figure out who at his Pemberley house party is guilty–while also navigating all of the post-Hunsford awkwardness and longing.

Are you a fan of mysteries? What type do you like? Detective novels, police procedurals, caper stories, suspense, cozies? Do you like them to have a romance element?

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