Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
16 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Beatnik Coffee Haus

Subject: Stumped on a genre question rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Xander Fulton
United States
Astoria
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Had a conversation come up recently where a co-worker complained that "they didn't like mysteries, because you never had all the facts - something was always introduced near the end that you had no way of knowing and was the key".

Now, it's true, this happens a lot, but I was arguing that this was true more often in the case of dramas, that just happened to have a crime at their center, rather than a true 'mystery' novel.

Here's the part I need help with - I seem to recall a specific term for a genre of mystery fiction that specifically referred to a mystery where all the facts were available to the reader. Almost more of a puzzle, then, but the reader COULD solve it before the detective in the story (as a matter of practice, though, rarely did as the facts needed - while always definitely present - were usually cleverly hidden).

In doing some Google-Fu on this, the only genres I really come across reference to are things like:
- 'Cozy Mystery' (little violence/sex/adult situations, neat and clean murder with a typically amateur sleuth...your Miss Marples, et al)
- 'Police Procedural' (as it sounds - more about the police and procedure...Law and Order and such)
- 'Hard Boiled' (aka 'noir' - detective in an imperfect world attempting to find some small 'local justice')

...but all of those relate more to setting than style, so not really the term I'm looking for.

Ideas?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Wesley
Nepal
Aberdeen
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mb
"Conspiracy Theorist"? robot
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh
United States
flag msg tools
All my sins are of omission
badge
Snob of the People
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Encyclopedia Brown"
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
XanderF wrote:
Here's the part I need help with - I seem to recall a specific term for a genre of mystery fiction that specifically referred to a mystery where all the facts were available to the reader.

A "Whodunit". They generally follow the rules of the Detection Club, a group of mystery writers (Christie and Sayers for two) founded in 1930 which held to code of fairness to the reader. I'll summarize it as:

Nothing can come out of thin air--no new poisons, no new forensic test, no supernatural effects, no new suspects. J. Michael Straczynski, long-time show-runner of Murder She Wrote, has put this as having to place the gun on the mantel before it is used. All information must be presented to the reader, though a detective might say something was interesting without saying why it was interesting; and a crucial fact may be buried in a seemingly routine description of a scene. Another famous technique, used by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes--whose mysteries were not always fair), is the absence of something. The dog does not bark, so the murderer is known to the dog.

Some excellent authors are:
Agatha Christie (Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot)
Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey)
Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe)
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Simpson
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I would call it a 'Columbo' as this is probably the most famous example of it

Funny, I just looked at the Wiki page for Columbo and it calls this type of mystery an 'Inverted Detective Story':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_detective_story

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paolo Robino
Italy
Dueville
Vicenza
flag msg tools
"I'm a Nay Saying worm beast!"
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
LRayZor wrote:
I would call it a 'Columbo' as this is probably the most famous example of it

Funny, I just looked at the Wiki page for Columbo and it calls this type of mystery an 'Inverted Detective Story':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_detective_story


If I correctly understand the OP, it's not a Columbo thing that he's referring to. In Columbo, you know since the beginning who's guilty. What you don't know is how Columbo will expose him/her.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Simpson
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Doh, misread it. When it said all the facts I assumed including who was the killer
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Bentley
United States
Cleburne
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
XanderF wrote:
Had a conversation come up recently where a co-worker complained that "they didn't like mysteries, because you never had all the facts - something was always introduced near the end that you had no way of knowing and was the key".

Now, it's true, this happens a lot, but I was arguing that this was true more often in the case of dramas, that just happened to have a crime at their center, rather than a true 'mystery' novel.

Here's the part I need help with - I seem to recall a specific term for a genre of mystery fiction that specifically referred to a mystery where all the facts were available to the reader. Almost more of a puzzle, then, but the reader COULD solve it before the detective in the story (as a matter of practice, though, rarely did as the facts needed - while always definitely present - were usually cleverly hidden).

In doing some Google-Fu on this, the only genres I really come across reference to are things like:
- 'Cozy Mystery' (little violence/sex/adult situations, neat and clean murder with a typically amateur sleuth...your Miss Marples, et al)
- 'Police Procedural' (as it sounds - more about the police and procedure...Law and Order and such)
- 'Hard Boiled' (aka 'noir' - detective in an imperfect world attempting to find some small 'local justice')

...but all of those relate more to setting than style, so not really the term I'm looking for.

Ideas?


Oh boy, I am seriously addicted to these type of stories, and it carries over to movies, old time radio programs, and, since this is BGG... g****.

I have a good collection of the 1st 3 mentioned above, so, and I'm not sure I can get away with posting this in Chit-Chat, but ARE there any g**** that do what the op is talking about? And please forgive for the slight hi-jacking of this thread, not my intention....just call it temporary insanity at the mere mention of "who-dunit" mysteries...

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jrbentley wrote:
ARE there any g**** that do what the op is talking about?

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases and (by reputation--not having played a mystery from it) Gumshoe, both by Sleuth Publications. They are complex, multi-threaded, "Choose Your Own Adventure"-like games, but without the constraints that the CYOA stories have. You can always go anywhere, but the limitation of the game is that you can only go each place once. They get around this by giving half a clue at the obvious place, "But Lord Suspicious went off shooting--he could tell you more. Where? I don't know." And now you have a new sub-mystery to figure out where he's shooting so you can question him directly. Some talk has been around recently about new mysteries for SHCD, but so much depends on the quality of the writing; mysteries are not simple to write well.

Investigation is extremely limited, but I think the best deductive game is Timbuktu. I'm not sure the sheets to help with deduction are part of the game or here on BGG, but they're very helpful and should be used.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
By coincidence, I just got an ad for a Disney game for Wii, "Disney Guilty Party," which sounds conceptually like SHCD--but Disney does tend to water everything down. No murders, certainly.
http://home.disney.go.com/foryou/disneyfans/insider/article/...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Bentley
United States
Cleburne
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tall_Walt wrote:
By coincidence, I just got an ad for a Disney game for Wii, "Disney Guilty Party," which sounds conceptually like SHCD--but Disney does tend to water everything down. No murders, certainly.
http://home.disney.go.com/foryou/disneyfans/insider/article/...


My family and I have been playing this game. I got it the day it was released and I must say, it's a LOT of fun...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Drew1365 wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
J. Michael Straczynski, long-time show-runner of Murder She Wrote, has put this as having to place the gun on the mantel before it is used.


I believe that was Anton Chekov. cool


It was definitely JMS--but he never claimed it was original. I don't know.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Xander Fulton
United States
Astoria
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tall_Walt wrote:
XanderF wrote:
Here's the part I need help with - I seem to recall a specific term for a genre of mystery fiction that specifically referred to a mystery where all the facts were available to the reader.

A "Whodunit".


Guess that might be it. The Wikipedia article on it mentions that it is a type of 'closed mystery'.

Not sure - it sounds close, and I've heard that term before, but I could have sworn what I was looking for was something more evocative a description for the same term. Something like 'parlor mystery' or something like that. But that's obviously not right.

Tall_Walt wrote:

Some excellent authors are:
Agatha Christie (Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot)
Dorothy L. Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey)
Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe)


Definitely familiar with all of them, although I'd point out that not all of them do follow that formula all the time.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Walt
United States
Orange County
California
flag msg tools
Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
badge
Please contact me about board gaming in Orange County.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
When you say parlor mystery or cozy, I think of Miss Marple, who never gets her hands dirty, and usually receives reports second-hand, whilst sitting in her parlor. Nero Wolfe is much the same way, but his side-kick, Archie Goodwin, is more in the hard-boiled school of Sam Spade.

So, I'd say a plain whodunit focuses on the crime, possibly in a gritty manner or as a police procedural, a cozy is more restricted in having no overt sex or violence, and a somewhat detached, usually amateur detective.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.