???Mystery???


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    This is a very broad topic about Mysteries in general. since a topic needs some sort of prompt to get started here are some; What do you think makes a good or even great mystery, what is your favourite mystery, stories that are not mysteries but have Mystery elements and, how these non-mysteries handle the mystery vs mystery stories.


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    I think Spice and Wolf can be put in the category of having Mystery elements at the very least. There is the mystery like the first book and the coin deal or with the Fools Gold thing in the 3rd book (the Mystery is pretty much how someone else is scheming to make a profit), the sleuthing to find the truth behind it, and how the characters react to it after it is solved (or how to make a profit from it).

    mild volume 6 spoilers


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    Mysteries are actually a huge part of why I'm a light novel reader.

    My favorite mysteries are the Uchikoshi games, starting with 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors. It was a game I took a chance on, knowing zero about it, and fell in love with that type of plot twist heavy story. Ever since, I've been searching for that feeling. That's why I chased anime, manga, and light novels, to find more stories with twists and turns like that. Even the early Shounen I stuck with, Fullmetal Alchemist and Attack on Titan, had its share of intrigue that made you want to turn the page to find out what happens next, not just power level chatter.

    A lot of people get annoyed early in mysteries, because characters are acting cliche. People will fit into their little box. A lot of this is intentional, to set up the character twists. For 999, Uchikoshi used a method that other classic mystery novelists used, the Enneagram of Personally. This is a 9 point scale of character personalities. Characters fit into certain boxes when in a neutral state, but they move into other boxes when "stressed" or when "in comfort", so you never really know who or what they are until you've made it through the story.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enneagram_of_Personality

    There's more to the Enneagram, and discovering where characters fit and where they go can be a challenge in and of itself.

    Mysteries at this point, especially in games and manga, have become a bit old hat though in terms of "who done it". While certainly a work can trick you, the shocking twist villain, the innocent + weak becoming the major antagonist, becomes a trope in and of itself. Depending on the set up, I can probably guess the final 2 or 3 alive in a death game scenario, and from that, I can probably guess the culprit based on who is acting the most blatantly innocent. So at this point, I guess the only thing that can really surprise is something off the wall bizarre. But at the end of the day, I'm still a sucker for seeing one or two of my favorite characters make it out of a story alive, so I'm still on the edge of my seat for that.


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    If we're talking about mystery, I love Hyouka's mixing of mystery with slice of life. It's such a good series. If only the author was interested in writing more volumes as it really doesn't feel like it.



  • @aruseus493
    He's busy man (pumping a book per year) and since the series is more on the regular novels side, the deadline is a bit loose.


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    @bloodygaikotsu What else does he write?



  • @aruseus493
    He is almost on every Kono Mystery ga sugoi ranking since 2006. (Mostly, he writes stand-alone mystery novels)
    His other series is called "Shoushimin series", started in 2004
    His last Hyouka/Koten-bu novel was in 2016.
    (There are 2 volumes beyond the anime so far)

    His "The Incite Mill" turned into a movie in 2010.
    The book itself is published by Bungeishunju (Mari's autobiography publisher)



  • @bloodygaikotsu I really love Hyouka, but never expected the author is super busy. I thought he need to collect some material because in my opinion making mystery story is more difficult, which why Hyouka rarely updated by him.


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    @bloodygaikotsu I'm aware of the two volumes past the anime. One of them is fully original from the anime while the latest was just a collection of the various short stories he wrote for Hyouka over the course of 5 years. So he's kind of left us on a cliffhanger.



  • @aruseus493
    The difference between the 3rd volume and 5th volume was 5 years as well.
    He's always been slow


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    Mystery Stories I find is one of the hardest to do right.^1 Every detail need to be relevant in some way and need some sort of payoff (there are red Herrings but they should have some sort of payoff IMO^2), If the audience does not have the "How did I not see that coming" or "Oh! it all makes Sense Now," then I find it was not a great Mystery. NISIOISINs' Decapitation or also known as Zaregoto I think a good example to use because a Mystery usually will have one of two reactions in its reveal; The "makes sense" or the "Where the hell did that come from!" I believe the True reveal was actually done pretty well. If you have not read or Watched Decapitation or also known as Zaregoto I recommend reading it first.

    ^1 When I say Mystery Stories are the hardest to do right I mean when it comes to the plot and the details, For example, A>B>C>D>E ... Y>Z. You know Z happened, this could be the Murder, but what has led up to that point and are we given the tools to reach that conclusion and does the reveal even make sense. Sherlock is able to make a series of Inferences and every point makes complete logical sense like the nine times out of ten you can calculate someone's height by the length of their stride and confirm this calculation by a message on the wall from the killer because "When a man writes on a wall, his instinct leads him to write about the level of his own eyes."

    ^2 Red Herrings do not necessarily need to have a payoff but in my opinion, they should, even if it is just a kind of Support payoff that does not contribute to the mystery like saying "I was having an affair with you, That is what I am hiding!"


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    Interesting topic.

    I am a mystery fan myself. But the mystery genre is so wide that I am not sure what to talk about. There are certain mystery devices I really enjoy. Red herrings is one of them. An example of a light novel that uses red herrings all the time is "The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria". There is also a special technique I have seen used to mislead the reader in "The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria" and another mystery light novel "Lying Mii-kun and Broken Maa-chan" that I really enjoy. It is to make the reader believe they are reading a certain character's thoughts and mislead them while they are actually reading a completely different character's internal monologue. Another mystery device that these two share is "the big reveal" at the end of the story. Some previously unspoken clue/fact is revealed that makes everything clear and most likely completely blows the reader's mind :)

    Another mystery novel I have enjoyed is Phenomeno. It is like most Japanese occult mystery novels except better :3 I also read "Inakunare Gunjou" which I made a post about a few weeks ago. It has a cozy atmosphere like Hyouka but the mysteries are a lot more serious I would say. It had quite a few unexpected reveals. The narrator was unreliable at times...

    At the moment I am reading a mystery visual novel called Umineko no Naku Koro ni. It is quite enjoyable but extremely long. The total length is around 1.5 million words, which is like 30 light novel volumes. There are so many questions but they are solvable. One thing that disappoints me with mystery is when the culprit is too easy to guess.


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    While I'm not a huge fan of mysteries, I've found that they fall into two broad categories. The more prevalent "Who done it" and the less common "How done it". I've found the latter to be more interesting.


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    @paul-nebeling said in ???Mystery???:

    While I'm not a huge fan of mysteries, I've found that they fall into two broad categories. The more prevalent "Who done it" and the less common "How done it". I've found the latter to be more interesting.

    Sherlock Holmes (books, certainly not the Sherlock TV show) would fall under the " How done it" category then while Agatha Christie would fall under the "Who done it."