Home « Forum « Story Recommendations

Forum: Story Recommendations

Murder Mysteries

sunkuwan

Not primary a "looking for ..." Thread.
If you guys can recommend some good Murder Mysteries from SOL, cool, I love me some mysteries.

But I would primarily talk about the lack of good mysteries or thrillers on SOL and other sites like it.
Or maybe I dont find them, the "top xyz" lists are primarily about CoA, Fantasy and SciFi

And if there is some element of a murder mystery in a story, it is either a side story from a bigger story or it is a "manhunt" story where the Murderer is known from the start or we see the murderer in action but don't know who it is and the story is about the hunt and often an escape from the murderer.

What I want to talk about, is the original Murder Mystery formula of "whodunnit".
(Wiki page: A whodunit or whodunnit (for "Who [has] done it?" or "Who did it?") is a complex, plot-driven variety of the detective story in which the audience is given the opportunity to engage in the same process of deduction as the protagonist throughout the investigation of a crime. The reader or viewer is provided with the clues from which the identity of the perpetrator may be deduced before the story provides the revelation itself at its climax. The investigation is usually conducted by an eccentric, amateur, or semi-professional detective.)

Like the Agatha Christie books, or the TV series Harpers Island, Twin Peaks

So the lack of stories in this Genre, is it lack of skill and/or drive to build such a scenario, lack of a professional Editor, lack of research?
It is clearly easier to write a CoA sex story than a Mystery sex story.
Would the desire to write longer stories hinder the genre, because you can't write a 200-500k words Murder Mystery?

Or would the required skill that it takes to write such a story automatically drive a good author to publishing houses and publish their stories normally?

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@sunkuwan

Just off thew cuff, I'd recommend Wine Maker's Erotic Vineyard stories, as they're both hot sexy stories featuring a lesbian cop involved in an erotic three-way and detailed murder mysteries.

However, to address your larger questions, crime thrillers stopped attracting attention a LONG time ago. They were most popular in the 1940s - 1960s, and became so predictable and redundant (think "Murder She Wrote") that they fell out of favor for a LONG time. Also, they require a different skill set than most other stories.

I've written one "murder mystery", which I've never published because an editor I paid a small fortune to wrecked the story (and I haven't figured out whether to keep any of her changes or post my original), and I'm preparing to write another soon, but the genre is largely more limiting than many others (in no small part because of the lack of demand with fewer experienced resources to draw upon).

Westerns faced a similar situations and have recovered, though they're nowhere near as popular as they once were, but murder mysteries haven't. Instead, now you have stories like "The Da Vinci Code", which are more sci-fi/fantasy/conspiracy-theory than pure mystery. In essence, now you've got to convince readers to take a chance on a mystery, rather than attracting existing fans.

Still, I'm interested how my stories will far here on SOL (when I eventually release them, that is).

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

They were most popular in the 1940s - 1960s


Anything that old should be off copyright, so the OP can try looking on Project Gutenberg.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son


Anything that old should be off copyright, so the OP can try looking on Project Gutenberg.


I think he was looking for more modern stories, especially those with an erotic twist on SOL.

However, if he's interested, I trust he'd love the works by P. G. Wodehouse, as they're essentially a mix of Agatha Christie and "Upstairs, Downstairs".

moredrowsy
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

If not referring to pure crime thrillers, I wouldn't say murder mystery stopped attracting attention commercially. To name a few, JD Robb's In Death series, Karen Robard's, Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle's, Mary Burton, Janet Evanovich, and etc.

In terms of SOL, it's not very popular. Actually, I haven't encountered one until your rec to Wine Maker. SOL are so saturated with harems and gangbangs fantasies as the main plot that it's so silly and hard to find more subtance stories.

Off to read some Wine Maker stories...Thanks for the rec.

Oyster
Updated:

The biggest problem with that type of stories is the fine balancing act between leaving enough clues that one can piece it all together (if only in hindsight) and not too many to make it obvious and thus boring for the reader.

Some sadly fall into the territory of a Shyamalan twist or a jack-in-the-box reveal that no one could have pieced together.

Is it lack of skill (as you mentioned), motivation or interest that stops authors from writing AND posting those here? Could be, but then again maybe it is the view that the readership here prefers something else.

So why not play to the crowd and post what is popular when all you get are comments, downloads and (high) scores as payment.

Now to some recommendations:

"Gameplayer" by http://storiesonline.net/a/Tony_Stevens

"Lifeline" and "Death and a Life in Emerald Cove" by http://storiesonline.net/a/Jay_Cantrell

Maybe the PI Matt Steele and Detective Rollie Chambers series by http://storiesonline.net/a/woodmanone/ may fit the bill, but it has been a while since I last read them.

And if they have been tagged correctly a look through:

http://storiesonline.net/stories/bytag/mystery may dig up some more stories.

@moredrowsy :

The Winemaker stories are all entertaining and well worth the read. And "A touch of Death" may fit the bill of a murder mystery more than some of the others.

Since the last "public" action on the account was in 2009 those stories may soon be available only to premier members, so read quickly or subscribe.

Vlad_Inhaler

Since the last "public" action on the account was in 2009 those stories may soon be available only to premier members, so read quickly or subscribe.


What are you talking about? SOL stories do not revert to the private domain after the author has been retired for n years.
(I had some suggestions but they have all been covered already)

Replies:   ustourist  docholladay
ustourist

@Vlad_Inhaler

Have a look at the 'Site Announcement' section of the forum where the most recent posting related to the authors agreement which has been updated.
There has been a policy change where authors have not logged in for 5 years.

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
docholladay

@Vlad_Inhaler

What are you talking about? SOL stories do not revert to the private domain after the author has been retired for n years.
(I had some suggestions but they have all been covered already)


The reason for this has been covered in another topic: http://storiesonline.net/d/s1/t2374/authors-agreement-updated

According to the change if the author has not been active on SOL in some manner either as a writer or just as a reader, their stories can and probably will be archived as premium access only. In which case if you enjoy the writer's work. You might want to read them again while they are available or do a copy/paste of each story and pasting it to a new document or text file on your computer (I know a very awkward process). I have no idea how long it will take for the new policy to take affect.

Replies:   EzzyB
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Oyster

Since the last "public" action on the account was in 2009 those stories may soon be available only to premier members, so read quickly or subscribe.


The author is still around.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Oyster
Updated:

ETA:
@Lazeez:
Thank you for the information.

Original post:
To get the thread back on track I'll add the following:

Judging by the vast amount of police procedurals there are on TV media seems to have moved away from the basic "whodunnit" to a rather different way of story-telling.

The reasons that I can think of are:

-the ratings showed the bosses that things like "Murder she wrote", "Columbo", etc. did not appeal to people anymore.

-they became too formulaic

-not enough action / too slow

Where the typical murder mystery seems to be still hanging on is in interactive dinner experiences that creep up from time to time.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Vlad_Inhaler

@ustourist

Thanks - I had never imagined that this could happen. Is it even legal? Any author who stopped posting before this change has never agreed to this, authors who wanted access restricted have pulled their stories anyway.
Joe J or Lazlong spring to mind.

Replies:   Oyster
Oyster
Updated:

@Vlad_Inhaler

Please read the posted thread (or atleast the web-master's posts toward the end of the thread) before derailing this thread as I have already put my ass in the wind to ask the same questions and play the "advocatus diaboli".

The short answer is:

It is legal. It is being done. It is needed.

ETA:

Seems like I am discussing the topic just with myself, but then again maybe we're all figments of someone's imagination and none of this is real anyway.

Thinking a bit more on it I think this here is the main problem and why we don't see that many of them anymore:


Wiki page: A whodunit or whodunnit (for "Who [has] done it?" or "Who did it?") is a complex, plot-driven variety of the detective story in which the audience is given the opportunity to engage in the same process of deduction as the protagonist throughout the investigation of a crime. The reader or viewer is provided with the clues from which the identity of the perpetrator may be deduced before the story provides the revelation itself at its climax.


The interactivity starts and ends with the reader either getting the clues or not. The only options the reader then has is to either skip to the end to find out if he was right or keep reading while the protagonists still stumbles around (or think he was right and close the book).

If that is the main selling point then we have already created better ways to engage the "consumer" by creating video or board games or the already mentioned interactive murder mystery dinner experiences.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
LonelyDad

I seem to recall some Brother Cadfael stories or similar posted here at one time.

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
sunkuwan

I think Murder Mysteries on TV can still be successful if it has a clear outline and doesnt overstay its welcome (milking a series after its conclusion)

I think Harpers Island was successfull and Twin Peaks is a fan Favorite.
But there was a series some years back, I think it was named "Revenge", who flopped.

In japan we have the successful "Detective Conan" Manga/Anime and the Higurashi and Umineko Games/Animes who were successful. (Even if Umineko crashes and burns the "whodunnit" formula at the end)

But sites like SOL doesnt really follow the "whats popular in TV" or even commercial books. There are some stories that cant be commercialized in book form even if we take out the sex, the massive wordcount would tank the prospected revenue. (a TV Series based on some stories could be successful if the studios get a little more adventurous. I could see Amazon or Netflix picking up themes and stories that you wouldnt see normally)

But in the end, most Authors who writes a successful and intriguing Murder Mystery and revive the genre would probably publish it normally instead of posting it on sites like SOL.

Joe_Bondi_Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Just off thew cuff, I'd recommend Wine Maker's Erotic Vineyard stories, as they're both hot sexy stories featuring a lesbian cop involved in an erotic three-way and detailed murder mysteries.


Second this. His stuff is excellent.


However, to address your larger questions, crime thrillers stopped attracting attention a LONG time ago. They were most popular in the 1940s - 1960s, and became so predictable and redundant (think "Murder She Wrote") that they fell out of favor for a LONG time. Also, they require a different skill set than most other stories.


Not exactly. The NYT regularly runs reviews in their Sunday book magazine (Marilyn Stasio is their principal reviewer).

It's true no one writes like Raymond Chandler now for the very good reason that his stories are specific to a time and a place. They are timeless, yes, but it's always the 1930s (and a bit, weaker stories, in 1940s) in Chandler Land.

As others noted, a good thriller is hard to write. That's why you don't see many on SOL. Note I said "hard," not "impossible."

I'm attending a thriller-writing seminar at the (SF) Bay Area Book Fair next weekend where I will learn all the secrets. I'll pass them on.

FORGOT TO ADD: The presenters are all Scandanavian thriller writers. We may all die of depression before the seminar ends.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

The Winemaker stories are all entertaining and well worth the read. And "A touch of Death" may fit the bill of a murder mystery more than some of the others.

Since the last "public" action on the account was in 2009 those stories may soon be available only to premier members, so read quickly or subscribe.

Wine Maker fairly recently revised many of his stories for publication, whether the stories on SOL are new or the ones that I remember, I'm not sure. If they haven't been updated recently, you may have to search Amazon for the newest versions, but I suspect he's been posting new newer versions. However, your reference that WM hasn't been heard from worries me, as it means he's given up on SOL and is now only posting to Amazon. (He removed several stories, years ago, and relisted them after they'd been on Amazon for a while, so I assumed he'd posted the newest ones.)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

Since the last "public" action on the account was in 2009 those stories may soon be available only to premier members, so read quickly or subscribe.

The author is still around.

I take that to mean the Wine Maker is still visiting the site (to read) but is no longer posting updates? Has anyone checked his newest updates on Amazon (i.e. has he soured on SOL, or stopped writing)?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

To get the thread back on track I'll add the following:

Judging by the vast amount of police procedurals there are on TV media seems to have moved away from the basic "whodunnit" to a rather different way of story-telling.

No, the stories have shifted from "who-done it" mysteries to "police procedural/investigation" stories. In the first, you follow the cops around as they go about their investigations, in the second they're investigating specific crimes (the various 'serial' criminal stories all fit into this category).

While the 'who-done-it' still seems popular in Britain (check out the shows on PBS), they don't transfer over to the colonies (or at least this one).

The technical aspects of these newer story types are, for the procedural stories, you need to focus on the intercharacter conflicts, which require a fairly detailed knowledge how police departments and how cops think. For the investigative stories, you usually need a 'twist' (like yet another serial killer/rapist, who's worse than any other serial killer/rapist who's ever existed before!). That's why many stories end up with the 'unbelievable' final resolutions, because instead of the traditional 'stupid criminal' these are all super-intelligent master criminals who only slip-up by making incredibly stupid moves where the investigator escapes by the hair of his teeth (a terribly way to end a story!).

Crumbly Writer

@Oyster

Seems like I am discussing the topic just with myself, but then again maybe we're all figments of someone's imagination and none of this is real anyway.

No, you're not all alone, as many of us wish to see the author's original wishes preserved, but since it's Lazeez's site, and he needs to keep it running, we see little reason to quibble over it.

There's our personal preferences, but then there's reality. When you start discussing what's 'legal', you always land in the 'reality' side of the discussion. :(

Replies:   Oyster
Crumbly Writer

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

I'm attending a thriller-writing seminar at the (SF) Bay Area Book Fair next weekend where I will learn all the secrets. I'll pass them on.

If you get any notes, resources or 'how to' links, copy me. I can use it in my upcoming (as yet-unwritten) book, "A Memorial to Die For".

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I take that to mean the Wine Maker is still visiting the site (to read) but is no longer posting updates? Has anyone checked his newest updates on Amazon (i.e. has he soured on SOL, or stopped writing)?


I somehow lost a posting here somewhere. I was confused, because WM is still around, and (as far as I know) still writing and publishing on Amazon, but while he IS visiting SOL, he's no longer posting anything here. I'm wondering why not.

If anyone knows whether he's still revising his stories or not, or posting to SOL under a different name, I'd appreciate a heads up.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Wine Maker fairly recently revised many of his stories for publication, whether the stories on SOL are new or the ones that I remember, I'm not sure.


I checked a few of the stories and they showed the latest update date of only a few weeks after their original posting - so I'd say if he revised them since then he hasn't posted them.

edit to add: can't find any of his stories on Amazon, either.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I checked a few of the stories and they showed the latest update date of only a few weeks after their original posting - so I'd say if he revised them since then he hasn't posted them.

can't find any of his stories on Amazon, either.


In that case, it's clear he was turned off of writing from his unsuccessful publishing attempts. He originally pulled his stories from SOL after an unnamed publisher expressed interest in publishing his stories, but nothing ever came of it. Afterwards, he self-published to Amazon, and then later his stories 'reappeared' on SOL (after 2009).

If he'd talked to us, we could have told him how unlikely it is to earn a kazillion bucks from publishing (or even ten-thousand). I'm sad to see him disappear from writing, as I've always loved his stories.

P.S. WM, if you're reading this, drop me a note and I'll buy whatever books you have just so I can read the latest versions. The only reason I didn't before was because I assumed they were 'sanitized' to remove all the 'naughty bit' which made them so compelling to begin with.

P.P.S. The only reason his stories wouldn't remain on Amazon is if he yanked them. If left alone, Amazon will continue selling them, and pocketing the profits, long after the author has died, making no attempts to contact any surviving relatives. :(

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Afterwards, he self-published to Amazon


I checked the titles of the stories as they appear on SoL and also the name Wine Maker but couldn't find anything - if he had different titles or a different name, I doubt I'd find them.

The dates for publication on SoL varied from 2007 to 2009.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I checked the titles of the stories as they appear on SoL and also the name Wine Maker but couldn't find anything - if he had different titles or a different name, I doubt I'd find them.

He did both. His actions were documented previously in the forum, from a couple years ago, but it may have been in the Old forums, rather than the newer SOL one.

samuelmichaels

@sunkuwan

I would mention the Private Eye stories by Gina Marie Wylie. Several of her other stories feature murder investigations, but only as sidelines.

Oyster

@Crumbly Writer

Oyster:
Seems like I am discussing the topic just with myself, but then again maybe we're all figments of someone's imagination and none of this is real anyway.

------
Crumbly Writer:
No, you're not all alone, as many of us wish to see the author's original wishes preserved, but since it's Lazeez's site, and he needs to keep it running, we see little reason to quibble over it.


My comment about discussing a topic alone was aimed at the thread's topic as I had written three on-topic posts in a row. Should have made that clearer and added a break line before the "ETA".

---

Now back on topic:

Since I am neither in the UK nor in the USA it is a bit more difficult for me to check out the shows on PBS I shall take your word for it (or ask for recommendations if there are some really good shows out there that have not made it over the channel).

Probably should have elaborated a bit more and used something else than "different way of story-telling" to explain what I wanted to say.
Part of what I meant is what you mentioned. The shows are focussing more on the characters, their private lives and what the job does to them.
The other part is that the newer shows concentrate more on making an airtight case or getting the suspect to confess in a way that is usable in court instead of just "showing"
he did it and got caught in the climax.
I may be completely wrong here, but I believe that happened because the writers wanted to be more "realistic" and because people saw some high profile suspects go free, be it on technicalities or inhuman efforts by their lawyers.

@Sunkuwan
Twin Peaks, to me, is not a standard murder mystery. It's a mix of genres and the case of who killed Laura Palmer is just a part of the whole story.
Back in 1990 it was something completely different and new which accounts for some of its popularity.

Can't talk about the other shows you mentioned as I have not seen/read them.

While SOL may not follow the trend of what is popular in the mainstream it has its own trends and quirks and its popular genres, see my "playing to the crowd" comment.
So, yeah, while many like to read a murder mystery, especially one about an author who takes forever to finish his stories, other genres/types attract more readers and sometimes higher scores.
Will this change? Yes, it is already changing and with an oversaturation of one type will lead to people getting bored and looking for something else.

Crumbly Writer

I went back, searching the old Google Groups SOL Forum for links to Wine Maker's publications. I never found them, as most of the references were mine, but the discussion was almost identical to this one (about mysteries being unpopular on SOL and where could readers find more modern mysteries) and was dated 2014.

Vlad_Inhaler

@LonelyDad

Brother Cadfael stories?
http://storiesonline.net/a/Smilodon - last seen August 2005.

red61544

@sunkuwan

Bar-Bar has a good mystery in progress in "Bec3". Every time I think I have it entirely figured out, another monkey wrench gets thrown into the mix. To understand who and what Bec is, you'll have to read the entire series before you read "Bec3". You'll find that it isn't a punishment; it's pure pleasure.

Replies:   sunkuwan  Ernest Bywater
sunkuwan

@red61544

I very much enjoyed Bec1. I wanted to wait for the rest of Bec4 to be finished before I read more of it.

Replies:   Vlad_Inhaler
Ernest Bywater

@red61544

another monkey wrench gets thrown into the mix


What do you expect when you let a monkey play with your tool kit? Take it off him.

Replies:   red61544
red61544

@Ernest Bywater

Take it off him.

Then what would I do for entertainment while waiting for the next chapter?

Vlad_Inhaler

@sunkuwan

Reread Bec, then go through 2 and 3 so that they will be fresh in your mind when the current story finishes. It can't be long now.

grandad_rufus
Updated:

http://storiesonline.net/series/999/bullet

These are paranormal mysteries, though not Whodunit

There is another, which I can't remember, where a female is able to witness a murder on a boating lake, she tries to keep her "talents" hidden. I remember she visits an old mine

Regards G_R

It was a Wine Maker story http://storiesonline.net/s/59968/a-touch-of-death

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@grandad_rufus

These are paranormal mysteries, though not Whodunit

More often, they're 'cross genre' stories, where one story mixes science fiction with a mystery or 'police procedural' element. That doesn't mean it doesn't fit a particular definition, only that it's not exclusively a "mystery" story.

richardshagrin

They are a pair of normal stories.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

They are a pair of normal stories.

Never mind, then! < blushes>

cantamelon

FRIENDLY CONCERN by dangerouslydead kept my spellbound till the end. Tis here on SOL.

EzzyB

@docholladay

According to the change if the author has not been active on SOL in some manner either as a writer or just as a reader, their stories can and probably will be archived as premium access only. In which case if you enjoy the writer's work. You might want to read them again while they are available or do a copy/paste of each story and pasting it to a new document or text file on your computer (I know a very awkward process). I have no idea how long it will take for the new policy to take affect.


It's quite easy to become a premium member and simply download the entire story with one click. Remember, there are no ads, the site is completely driven by membership. I suppose it's quite possible these days to forget that, ad-blockers being the rule instead of the exception, but SOL never had them.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@EzzyB

It's quite easy to become a premium member


Even for me this is not as easy as you might think. I live on around 700 a month. Out of that I pay rent, groceries(food), utilities, car insurance and other ongoing bills. Then like now I have been needing an eye exam for new glasses (not covered by Medicare), so I am trying to save enough for that expense. Sure I have the premium account, but like I said its not as easy as you think.

Back to Top