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The Medical Mystery Genre

What is a Medical Mystery?

Set in hospital and doctor's offices, the medical mystery is one that features doctors and nurses as the sleuths and heroes. Typically, these crime novels deal with mysteries related to medical conditions, odd diseases and poisons that are not easily traced. The medical profession huddles around and comes up with the solution at the last moment to save society and loved ones from whatever condition is being presented in the book.

Medical Mystery Characteristics

  • Level of Characterization

    The novels may have some level of characterization, but in many novels, the doctors are presented as stereotypes as the all-knowing doers of good.

  • Level of Plot

    Plots are strong, because people are interested in learning more about medicine and illnesses. The elements have to be strongly tied into the plot masterfully.

  • Level of Mystery

    There may be some level of mystery involved. The illness or virus or conspiracy must not be patently clear at the beginning of the book, but it may unravel long before the final pages of the book.

  • Level of Suspense

    The level of suspense is usually high, because the need to cure the people or contain the disease is paramount and must be done quickly.

  • Level of Thriller

    In many cases, the books have elements that indicate a worldwide crisis if the condition or medical emergency is not contained. Therefore the stakes are high and there will be forces to help and hinder the efforts.

  • Level of Strangeness

    Since most of us only know the cold and flu, the conditions are likely to be new and strange diseases that the reader is unfamiliar with. The symptoms as well may be unique and not known to the reader.

  • Level of Violence

    Given that death will likely result from the illness, gruesome deaths are legion. Not to mention that every surgical unit is filled with sharp and pointy objects.

  • Level of Action

    The doctors and nurses must fight for their lives as they can potentially move around the globe to fight the illness.

  • Degree of Thriller, Suspense, Crime, or Mystery in this the Medical Mystery Subgenre

    These books tend to fall more into the suspense and thriller categories than the straight mystery category. While there are novels that deal with doctors and a puzzle plot, for the most part, the books deal with medical emergencies and conditions that have a larger meaning to a city, state or national organization. The books may fit into the crime genre as there may be some crimes being told as part of a character study, but given the need for detailed language on medicine and illness, the language has to be pedantic at times.

Related MYSTERY Subgenres



  • Thrillers for the worldwide repercussions and the groups that may be involved in the process,
    suspense for the questions of will the main characters get out of the situation alive and healthy.

Medical Mystery isn't for you IF...

if you're going into the hospital or recovering from a medical procedure

Popular Medical Mystery Books