18.08: Building a Mystery

After last week’s deep dive into The Spare Man we’re ready to talk more generally about mysteries, and the tools we use to write them. Obviously we can’t cover all of that in just one episode, but don’t worry. In upcoming episodes we’ll explore more of these tools in detail.

Credits: Your hosts for this episode were Mary Robinette Kowal, DongWon Song, Erin Roberts, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. It was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Give yourself some context for the upcoming episodes. Read a mystery!

The Glass Onion (Netflix)

4 thoughts on “18.08: Building a Mystery”

  1. A good example of much of what this episode talks about is the TV show “Castle”. It aired from 2009 to 2016 on ABC. It is a comedy/romance cozy.
    The show featured of team consisting of a mystery writer and a cop. In this case we are shown the crime, almost always a murder, before the opening credits roll. Most of each episode consists of Castle (the mystery writer) throwing out a theory. Often the theory riffs off of a piece popular fiction that most of the audience will be familiar with. Of course, the only theory that pans out is the last one.

  2. The writer behind Foyle’s War (Anthony Horowitz) has written a bunch of mystery novels including a few James bond novels, a couple of Sherlock Holmes novels and the incredibly entertaining Hawthorne & Horowitz series. Highly recommended.

  3. This week, Mary Robinette, DongWon, Erin, Dan, and Howard talk about mysteries! First, what kinds of mysteries are there? Cozy, straight-up detective, police procedural, supernatural, noir. Second, what is the underlying structure or keys to mystery? Crime, investigation, twist, breakthrough, and conclusion. Don’t get lost chasing red herrings! Guess what, you can read all about it in the transcript available now in the archives.

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