Don’t Leave Your Crime Story’s Subgenre a Mystery

LEEPER’S CREEPERS! A mystery writer explains subgenres at Motive Means Opportunity.


By Jennifer Leeper

 Whether you’re getting ready to write or publish under the mystery/detective/crime umbrella, it’s important to understand the distinctive subgenres of this type of fiction in order to accurately target both a readership and publishing opportunities.

Private Eye

The private eye subgenre delivers exactly what you would expect, with a licensed private eye solving a crime. Writers in this category include Ross Macdonald and Walter Mosley.

The Thriller

Thrillers emphasize components such as good versus evil, and can include elements of detective and mystery fiction. Robert Ludlum and Patricia Highsmith are popular thriller fiction authors.


Think Scotland Yard and Sherlock Holmes. Traditional detective fiction represents the roots of modern mystery and crime literature. The general formula is a conventional detective solves a murder mystery where there are several suspects all with motive orbiting the corpse or corpses. As for authors in this subgenre, the iconic Arthur…

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