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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.

Popular Romantic Mystery Books