Are Mystery Novels An Endangered Species?

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I love to read mystery and suspense novels as well as to write them. Lately, I’m sensing a problem with the genre.
Will technology be the end of the good old-fashioned mystery novel? I hope not, but it certainly means changes are happening whether we like it or not.SerenitySpringsCOVER_72M
I’ve been working on updating one of my older books (SERENITY SPRINGS, OHIO) so that it could be released as an e-book. I was shocked to see how current technology made for some sticky rewrites from the original story manuscript.
Cell phones alone change the whole dynamic of the story.
I had one scene where one of the characters was needed to help in a hostage situation. In the original story, it took up almost complete chapter as police were alerted and hunted for the man. The tension built–will they or won’t they find him in time to save the hostages?
But as I read the scene, I realized the man would have a cell phone. So that tense scene morphed into a few sentences of picking up a phone and waiting for the man to answer it. Sigh–not nearly as tense or exciting!
So, instant communication definitely changes the way mystery/suspense novels are written, but that’s just the beginning. What about all the technology available to the forensic labs? And the computer geeks? If you watch CSI, NCIS, Bones, or a variety of other TV shows, it looks as if crimes are solved by scientists–not by the police and certainly not by an amateur sleuth?
I admit it! I’m intimidated by all the crime-solving technology available. I almost feel as if I need to go back to college and take a class on forensics or several classes not to mention some computer hacking classes before I write my next novel.
So, are mystery novels an endangered species or not?
My gut says NOT. It may not be as good as Gibbs’s gut, but it’s good!
Crimes are committed by people (real or characters) and no matter how much science can help there will always be the human element. That human element is where we writers will find our stories.
On the other hand, maybe I’ll start writing stories set in the sixties or seventies when life was simpler. And writing was too!



Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.
She lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, three parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Her day job was as a speech-language pathologist and an educator. She has Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Akron University, and a Master’s Degree from Kent State in Deaf Education. Now retired, she focuses on her writing full-time.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, you may visit her at or connect with her on a variety of social media sites. Her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes can be viewed at She also has a devotional blog at

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  1. The first thing a member of law enforcement will tell you is that real life isn’t like the TV shows. You don’t get all that neat evidence from a crime scene, it takes MUCH longer to get lab results, and the way most crimes are solved is through interacting with people. I agree that modern technology presents challenges, but there will always be mysteries.

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