'CORE' Best Lists
- Top 25 Best Mystery Books
- The Top 100 Mystery Books
- Best Mystery Books of 2015
- Best Mystery Series
- Best Mystery Stand Alones
- Best Modern Mystery Books
- Best Classic Mystery Books
- Underrated Mystery Books
'ERA' Best Lists
'GENRE' Best Lists
- Best Police Procedural Books
- Best Mystery Thriller Books
- Best Mystery Suspense Books
- Best Whodunit Mystery Books
- Best True Crime Books
- Best Mystery Thriller Books
- Best Amateur Detective Books
- Best Private Investigator Books
- Best Hard Boiled Mystery Books
- Best Literary Mystery Books
- Best Cozy Mystery Books
- Best Supernatural Mystery Books
- Best Historical Mystery Books
- Best Fantasy Mystery Books
- Best Science Fiction Mystery Books
- Best Romantic Mystery Books
'AUDIENCE' Best Lists
- Best Mystery Books for Women
- Best Mystery Books by Female Authors
- Best Young Adult Mystery Books
- Best Mystery Books for Children
The Romantic Mystery Genre
What is a Romantic Mystery?
The heroine is always a single woman who is in danger from a shadowy, notorious criminal. As the stakes rise, the woman is put into situations where she is nearly killed. Fortunately, there's always a model-handsome young man to come to her rescue.
Romantic Mystery Characteristics
- Level of Characterization
The hero and heroine must be well-drawn to explain why they are single and why they fall for each other. Stereotypical characters can be found, but they're not the norm. Many of these books are character-studies on two people falling in love..
- Level of Plot
The plot is key. The plot is what brings the two lovers together as well as solves the mystery.
- Level of Mystery
The level of mystery is high, because this is the unifying action that brings the hero and heroine together.
- Level of Suspense
Suspense is also present, because the heroine has to figure out what the hero is feeling plus she has to determine what the mystery is about.
- Level of Thriller
The book is rarely a thriller as the story of two people falling in love is rarely the main story when world domination is nearby.
- Level of Strangeness
As more romantic mysteries are written, the characters become quirkier and the circumstances of their meetings become more unusual.
- Level of Violence
Though the heroine will be in danger many times, there's really not much violence committed against the main characters.
- Level of Action
There may be some action, especially if the hero has to battle the villain of the piece, but other than that the book does not have car chases and other action scenes.
- Degree of Thriller, Suspense, Crime, and Mystery
The book falls squarely in the mystery genre. There's a crime to be solve, albeit by two people and not one. There are definitely elements of suspense in these novels as the reader has to wonder if the couple will get together as well as solve the crime. There are few thrillers that can be called romantic mysteries as the stakes are too high to include romance on par with saving the world. The crime novel may wax poetic about love, but the stories rarely are romantic mysteries.
Related MYSTERY Subgenres
Cozy mysteries. Many of the romantic mysteries have a decidedly cozy feel to them with county homes and quiet villages.
Romantic Mystery isn't for you IF...
Want your love matches kept out of fiction, or you don't' like the main characters worrying about their love lives.
- 1 RSVP Murder
By Mignon Eberhart. Often called America's Agatha Christie, Eberhart specialized in romantic suspense novels.
- 2 The Circular Staircase
By Mary Roberts Rinehart. Rinehart was known for her mystery and romance tales.
- 3 Ill Met by Moonlight
By Leslie Ford. A book in Ford's Mrs. Latham and Colonel Primrose series that include mysteries with a slow moving romance between the lead characters.
- 4 After the Night
By Linda Howard. A Louisana based entrepreneur wants to both the woman and the town they live in.
- 5 Run the Risk
By Lori Foster. Logan Riske goes undercover and falls for a material witness to his best friend's murder.
- 6 Naked in Death
By J.D. Robb. Eve Dallas gets involved with a suspect in a case.
- 7 One for the Money
By Janet Evanovich. Evanovich takes Stephanie Plum and gives her not one, but two love interests.
- 8 Lethal
By Sandra Brown. A murder suspect holds a woman and her daughter, wanting help to prove his innocence.
- 9 Off the Edge
By Carolyn Crane. A secret agent seduces a Thai singer and they become enmeshed in a dangerous plot.
- 10 Last Man Standing
By Cindy Gerard. The last in the series about a private security firm along with some romantic suspense.
- Lethal (Sandra Brown)
- Mr. Perfect (Linda Howard)
- Marina (Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
- Untraceable (Laura Griffin)
- Dragonwyck (Anya Seton)
- Possession (A. S. Byatt)
- Heartbreaker (Julie Garwood)