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The Caper Mystery

What is the Caper Mystery?

The caper is one of the oddest types of mystery. There's really no murder involved. The main character is someone who is planning a big crime, typically a heist. Of course, the pathway to the perfect crime is never straightforward and the novel is full of twists and turns as the hero-thief tries to navigate his/her way to the big pay day. In many cases, the novel has large dollops of humor in it to offset the constant suspense of trying to rob a bank or the mob.

Caper Mystery Characteristics

  • Level of Characterization

    The characterization may vary widely. The characters can be just stereotypes to move the plot along or may be well developed, full blooded characters.

  • Level of Plot

    The plot is typically important ot the book and must be convoluted with multiple twists and turns to thwart the plans of the protagonist.

  • Level of Mystery

    There doesn't have to be a significant amount of mystery in the book. The crime is known and the criminals are typically the protagonists of the book.

  • Level of Suspense

    A significant level of suspense has to exist as to whether or not the main characters will succeed in getting away with the crime.

  • Level of Thriller

    There may be thriller elements if the item being stolen belongs to a world leader or a criminal mastermind. The theft would have to have greater ramifications for this to be true.

  • Level of Strangeness

    The level of strangeness depends on the plot. In many books, the characters are schleps or the item being stolen is not worth what the protagonists think it is.

  • Level of Violence

    There is typically a lot of violence in a caper. People don't react well to having their things stolen.

  • Level of Action

    There's a lot of action as the protagonists put their plans into motion

  • Degree of Thriller, Suspense, Crime, and Mystery

    These books are most likely t be in the suspense category. They can be in the thriller category, depending on what is being stolen. They can be mysteries if someone dies in the course of the robbery. They are not likely to be crime novels.

Related MYSTERY Subgenres



  • Humorous mysteries. There can be a great deal of humor in capers.

Caper Mystery isn't for you IF...

IF YOU don't like humor or don't like books with no murders.

Popular Caper Mystery Books