I am searching for ESL high level English mystery but instead found really obvious stories where the crime is just stated



What sort of term should I looking for mystery stories where its unclear if a crime happened and even what is going on i.e. really mysterious? (they have to be free too) Mystery don't need crimes.

Such as most of Jonathan Creek- certainly some murders turn out to be something else and others involve virtually no crime at all and some Biggles stories such Biggles and the Dark Intruder- the crime is not clear until really late in the book.

closed as unclear what you're asking by dwjohnston, Fattie, Chenmunka, Misti, Peter Shor Jun 29 '15 at 21:16

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  • If at the end of the story, you don't know whether a crime has been committed, and who committed it, it's not a mystery story. The convention in English mystery stories is to tell the reader at the end who is guilty and how the committed the crime. You're looking for Encyclopedia Brown-type stories (I don't know a better name for them). – Peter Shor Jun 29 '15 at 0:47
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    Do you mean where they never tell you what the "answer" is or where they lead you on for a while before telling you there's a crime to be solved? What's the point of a mystery where they don't explain what happened at the end? I grew up loving the Encyclopedia Brown books, but they're not really difficult to read or to figure out the answers. Other options could be mystery (whodunit) puzzle books. – Catija Jun 29 '15 at 0:56
  • @Catija The point of a mystery you don't know the answer to is to ponder it and think about the possibilities. There's a lot of fiction that has ambiguous endings, precisely to drive the reader to such contemplation. That being said, your point that the "mystery" genre typically answers its own questions is accurate, and your question asking whether that's the kind of story the reader is asking about is quite useful. – user867 Jun 29 '15 at 1:47
  • Surely no need for incredibly long comments and discussion on questions that should just be closed or moved to ELL – Fattie Jun 29 '15 at 3:53
  • More a question concerning literature than a question about English. – rogermue Jun 29 '15 at 18:29

It's possible you're looking for a


or "who-done-it".

The finest and most famous examples in English are simply Agatha Christie. Start with eg. Murder on the Nile. (Indeed, I believe Christie is in fact the best selling author on Earth - so you should have no trouble finding.)

This question should be closed as (a) it is totally unclear ("free"? what?) (b) this isn't really a book recommendation site. Go to the ELL site.

  • Possibly exactly the opposite but thanks for your answer. Only looking a suitable term to search for. – user2617804 Jun 29 '15 at 4:17
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    Do you mean you're looking for something to type in to Google? Are you trying to say you want NOT crime stories, but rather SUPERNATURAL stories? (ie, involving ghosts etc?) There are any number of Christie stories where it is totally "mysterious" what the hell is happening (is it a crime? some strange natural event? suicide? what??) until the end. I'm afraid it's totally unclear what you're asking, sorry. – Fattie Jun 29 '15 at 4:34
  • For example, "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" (again, one of the handful of best selling books of all time) is the "ultimate twist" and is widely considered the last-word in "unbelievably clever twists in Mysteries" - after that there's sort of nothing else you can do. (It's a great pity that these days, of course you'll just google the "spoiler" of it.) Are you essentially just saying you want REALLY GOOD mysteries, where the "twist" is REALLY unexpected? – Fattie Jun 29 '15 at 4:38
  • Again, of course, obviously, "Murder on the Orient Express" was (at the time) essentially impossible to guess and was unbelievably clever (topped only by Roger Ackroyd). So you could try those two, IF, what you are indeed saying is .. "you want REALLY CLEVER mysteries". – Fattie Jun 29 '15 at 4:39

I'd call it a Lateral Thinking story or puzzle.

These are usually stories where the reader is left to determine the answer, or an (not always the) answer may be written for the reader to check his or her reasoning.

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