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The Handicapped Mystery Genre

What is a Handicapped Mystery?

Handicapped mysteries refer to the subgenre where the detective is differently abled. Max Carrados was one of the early examples with this, where the blind detective used his other senses to solve crimes. Since then there have been detectives who are blind, deaf, mute, and in a wheelchair and more. These detectives have a different view of the world and use that perspective to put criminals in jail.

Handicapped Mystery Characteristics

  • Level of Characterization

    The characters must be well-developed in order to explain how their abilities differ from the norm.

  • Level of Plot

    The plot of these mysteries usually revolves around a mystery that the detective is uniquely able to solve.

  • Level of Mystery

    There must be a mystery/puzzle to be solved by these detectives. Most of these detectives cannot function as police officers or private detectives and must be brought in because of their unique abilities.

  • Level of Suspense

    There typically is some level of suspense as the murderer/villain uses the detective's abilities against him/her.

  • Level of Thriller

    There can be some elements of a thriller in the book, though it is fairly rare.

  • Level of Strangeness

    There definitely can be some strangeness as the detective introduces the reader to the various ways of coping with differing abilities in the world.

  • Level of Violence

    The level of violence can vary widely. There can be no violence or there can be multiple gruesome deaths.

  • Level of Action

    The level of action is typically reduced as the detective may have issues that would prevent chases or fights.

  • Degree of Thriller, Suspense, Crime, and Mystery

    The book falls mainly in the mystery category as the book will have a murder at its core to be solved. There is likely to be some suspense due to the differing ability of the detective and the heightened dangers from lacking a sense. There may be a few elements of a thriller, but this is.

Related MYSTERY Subgenres



  • Quirky Detectives. The detective may have some odd ways of coping with the loss of a sense.

Handicapped Mystery isn't for you IF...

like lots of action or don't want to learn about those with various abilities

Popular Handicapped Mystery Books