• Overview

Fictional texts take reality and wrap it in extraordinary circumstances. Incorporating fictional text in all classes allows science teachers to encourage students to think "What if" or math teachers to discuss the probability of events or history teachers to critique the interpretation presented. Mystery texts allow critical thinkers to hypothesize, test, and predict. By allowing students to pick their own mystery to read, but building reading groups around key elements of the genre, students not only exercise critical thinking skills they also build their capacity to drawn connections between similar texts.


  • CCSS Alignment (Fiction)  RL 8.1 – 8.9


Places to Get Published 



Reading Bookmarks



Great Mysteries



Court Room Dramas; Hard Boiled Mysteries; Cozy Mysteries; Amateur Detective Mysteries; Police Dramas; Medical Mysteries; Forensic Mysteries

Core Conflicts

Character against unknown; Character against character

Writing Techniques

Misdirection; Red herrings; How scientific concepts are used; “Locked Rooms”; The mysterious message; Clues that are omitted; Motive/means/opportunity; Suspense

Typical Characters

Craggy detective; Forensic scientist; Amateur detective; Lawyer; Victim; Suspect; Witness


Objectives - Student will Create and/or Evaluate:



1. An interesting mystery that intrigues the reader

2. Conflicts between multiple suspects

3. Reasons for characters to be suspicious of each other

4. Character whose words/deeds don't match

5. Believable detectives/suspects/victims

6. Flowchart chart mapping out the story

7. Motivation for many characters with backstory

8. Emotions that distract from the truth

9. Scenes that set up clues later uncovered

10. Means/motive/opportunity

11. Misdirections/twists/red herrings

12. Using related scientific terms accurately

13. Suspense by foreshadowing events

14. Believable inventive clues/codes

15. A great closing scene that ties up loose ends

16. Contradictory/missing information to build suspense

17. Challenges to the credibility of the narrator

18. A believable ending that isn't revealed too quickly