What are some common themes and characteristics of the best mystery books?

There are many different genres out in the world, but none are quite as intense and spellbinding as a good mystery book. The “whodunit” has been a part of the literature lexicon for as long as language has existed, and readers show no sign of losing interest in a well-written mystery.

From children’s books online to those found at your local library, youth mystery novels are able to surprise and delight children worldwide. Of course, not every mystery novel is of the same quality.

Let’s take a look at some of the basic elements that the best mystery books share.

The Best Mystery Books – A Complex Mystery

The first element of the best mystery novels is probably pretty obvious. You must first start with a good mystery! What we mean is you must have a mystery that is intriguing and keeps the reader captivated throughout the story. If the mystery does not provide significant clues or the outcome is confusing, then there’s a good chance the story will fall apart very quickly.

A Powerful Hook

The best mystery books start with a powerful hook long before things start kicking into gear. This is what initially grabs the reader’s attention. Maybe someone gets hurt, a person goes missing, or something is stolen. It needs to be interesting and intriguing. A great hook makes a book hard to put down.

A Mysterious Mood

Not only does the mystery itself need to be set up in order to become one of the best mystery books on the market, there also needs to be a mysterious mood. Perhaps people act a little strange here and there when your protagonist is trying to get information out of them. Or maybe the setting of the story just feels a little “off” in some areas. You don’t have to go overboard with this, but a little can enhance the book.

Well-Thought-Out Red Herrings

Like a good magician, the best mystery books utilize misdirection in order to keep the reader engaged in the story. This misdirection, or misleading detail, is known as a red herring. This could be a clue that seems like a big deal when it’s really nothing or perhaps the author has set up a character to look suspicious when he or she is not the guilty party. Red herrings are a mainstay of the mystery genre and always seem to be present in the best mystery books.

Unfolding Clues

The best mystery books are those that peel the plot like an onion, revealing layer after layer as the story unfolds. Specifically, these stories will provide small clues as the plot develops toward its big reveal. When done properly, this will keep the reader engaged from beginning to end, and encourage the reader to turn the page.

Satisfying Resolution

In order for a novel to be considered one of the best mystery books available, it must have a conclusion that is not only satisfying but also makes sense. Having a good twist at the end is absolutely fantastic, but if the clues and everything else that came before it makes the ending illogical, then the book will probably leave a bad taste in a reader’s mouth.

The Happy Hollisters Are The Best Mystery Books For Children

If you’re looking for a great series of youth mystery novels, look no further than The Happy Hollisters. The series, which started in 1953 is still a staple of mystery novels for children after all these years, thanks to engaging storytelling by Andrew E. Svenson and charming illustrations by Helen S. Hamilton. The books are available in both paperback and Kindle versions and for the ultimate experience into the best mystery books, even a The Happy Hollisters Book Club.