Mystery Self Study Part 1

Key Volcabulary

Protagonist (Definition) The main character in a story. The story revolves around the protagonist.
Resolution The ending of something or a firm decision.
Private Eye A private detective (Oxford Dictionary of English)
Psychological Suspense A story which features intensity in the story as well as intensity in the mind. The criminal in the story is insane or psychological.
Alibi Evidence that one was not at the scene of an action, usually a crime.
Deduce To decide on a fact or conclusion that has logical reasoning behind it.
Motive (A motive) gives someone reason to do something.
Setting The place where a story takes place.
Antagonist A person or character in a story that causes the rising action.
Rising Action The part in the plot where the main problem or mystery in the story begins.
Detective Story This genre has a detective (and sometimes a sidekick) who is trying to solve a crime or a mystery. They are usually detectives who are hired by the police to solve crimes and find who the culprit is. This genre has many plot twists, and the culprit is usually someone that the reader does not expect. 
Thriller Thriller stories are usually stories that are a hybrid of mystery stories and action/adventure stories. These mysteries are popular among readers who read more action stories since thrillers are usually a little bit more exciting than mysteries. 
Breakthrough When someone gets an idea that solves a problem after not being able to solve the problem for a while.
Detective A person who investigates different things such as crime scenes.
Mystery A problem that causes a question that is hard to answer and has to be investigated.
Suspect Someone who the police or authorities think is a criminal or the culprit of a crime.
Climax The part during the plot where everything comes to resolution.
Tension When something is stretched out so that it becomes tight.
Hard-boiled This genre usually contains a lot of violence, and very fearless and ruthless detective because it is more for the male audience. It is very similar to the Private eye or detective genre except with more violence and a tough guy detective or private eye. 
Cozy This genre is the opposite of the hard-boiled genre. There is no violence and any crimes committed are not violent. It still has a mystery factor and figuring out who committed the crime is still the main part of the story. This genre is mostly targeted towards the female audience and is not for people who want a mystery that will scare them or keep them on their toes, but rather for people who want to be cozy while reading and have a calmer alternative to the mystery genre. 
Clue A clue is something found which aids in solving an investigation or a mystery.
Evidence Evidence is something that is proof that something happened.
Plot The events in a story.
Victim Someone who is harmed during a crime.
Sleuth A detective.
Red Herring A false target which is meant to mislead.
Crime A act which Is against the law.
Hunch An estimate based on feeling.
Witness Someone who witnesses or views a crime.
Empathy When a person shares feelings or understands another person.
Mood The way someone feels.



Part I: Mystery as Literature


  1. Please qualify your story as a mystery.  How does is fall into this genre generally?


The story I read was ghostman. This story qualifies as a mystery for a few reasons. One of the reasons is that there is a protagonist who trying to find out what went wrong in a casino robbery. The protagonist himself is also a criminal, which makes the story interesting. The protagonist has to find the missing money and the robber. He does this by following clues. This makes the story a mystery because the reader does not know where the money and the robber are and the reader has to go along with the ghostman (protagonist) to find out where these two things are. There are two mysteries in this story that I mentioned above. An example of when he was trying to find the robber can be found in this quote:


“No Ribbons. Considering the lock was still in place, he might have never have shown up in the first place, or even intended to. For all I knew, Ribbons and Moreno had been planning to blow off Marcus’s rendezvous point from the start” (Hobbs, 75)


In this quote we see the main character unraveling the mystery by investigating different areas. When a protagonist is investigating and trying to find either information or something physical, the story is usually a mystery.


  1. What type of mystery story are you reading (e.g. Private Eye, Detective Story, Hard-boiled Detective Story, Psychological Suspense, Thriller, Cozy).   Justify your reasoning based on the reading of Otto Penzler article Anatomy of a Mystery by using specific information from your book and said article.


The mystery I am reading is a hard-boiled crime thriller. It contains elements of all three of these genres. It is in the crime genre because the protagonist is a criminal and the story is also centered on crime. The crime story genre is told from the point of view of the criminal commiting the crime. In this genre the good and the bad are usually harder to tell apart since you are experiencing the story from the criminal’s point of view. The criminal stories can also be hard-boiled mysteries since the criminals can be tough guys and a lot of violence can be involved with the story. A thriller is a book that has action and mystery. This story has a lot of action and adventure along with the mystery, which qualifies it in the thriller genre. Many thriller stories are also hard-boiled. The hard-boiled genre has lots of violence and bad language and stories in the genre are more centered towards the male audiences, and this mystery story has lots of violence along with some bad language, which qualifies it into the hard-boiled genre.


“The elevator came to a jerking halt and the doors slid open. A young vault manager was waiting for us. She looked up and then froze in fear, dropping the papers she was holding. I don’t remember much else about her, but I’ll never forget her scream. It wasn’t even particularly memorable. Like most, it started like a high-pitched yelp and ended in hysterical sobbing. The timing was what threw me off. During most robberies, it takes a few seconds before someone lets out a yelp. Sometimes there is even this strange pregnant silence through the whole thing because everyone’s too shocked and scared to move. But not this time. As soon as the elevator doors opened up, the woman started screaming.


I grabbed her by the hair and threw her into one of the teller windows.” (Hobbs, 299)


In this quote you can easily see that this is a crime story, and a hard-boiled story.


  1. Please read the first ten to twenty sentence of your novel.  Does it set the ‘hook’ or get the reader interested in the coming mystery?  How? If not, why?  Use specific quotations from your book to justify your response.


In Ghostman There is a prologue which pulls the reader in by telling the interesting story of two robbers trying to rob a casino, but at this point in the story there is not a mystery, the reason is it interesting is because Hobbs talks about how hard it is to rob a casino and all the different outcomes, until finally the robbery happens. This pulls the reader in because it tells interesting facts and outcomes and also how high security the casinos are. Then there is a fast moving robbery part of the prologue which has suspense and intensity. This keeps the reader interested.


“As soon as the silent alarm goes, and it always does, guys with guns are coming out of the woodwork. They still wait for you to leave, as soon as you step back out the door there are forty guys with AR-15s and shotguns to take you down. No two-minute lag like before.

The second is to go for…” (Hobbs, 4)


Then after the robbery is over there is much mystery left and suspense, and the question is left: Where is the money? This keeps the reader reading the story.


  1. Who are the main characters in your story? Who is the protagonist?  Who is the antagonist? Which other important characters are involved?  Give a brief description of each, and be sure to identify their role in the novel.


In ghostman, the protagonist is the ‘ghostman’ who does not have a real identity and is very good at creating fake identities and disguises. He is an experienced criminal and can change the way he looks and sounds. His role in the story as the protagonist is to find out where the money is and recover it. When he recovers it, he will receive a reward.

There are many antagonists in the story. First is a character called ‘The Wolf’. The Wolf controls an area and is also a criminal who wants to recover the money. He has a lot of money and control over his area, and almost all criminals in the area work for him. The Wolf is a cruel person and almost always gets his way because of his money and power. Since The Wolf is searching for the money, he wants the help of the ghostman.


Another important character is another powerful criminal figure. He is addressed as Marcus. Marcus is a jugmarker as they say in the book and is the leader of many criminal operations including heists. He is also a very powerful figure, he is the one who hires the ghostman to recover the money, he hides many secrets from him and the ghostman is not sure who to trust as he is trapped in-between two very powerful figures.

Another antagonist is Rebecca Blacker who is an FBI agent investigating the casino robbery and questions the ghostman, however, since she is not after the ghostman, she only questions him about the others he knows. This is because she is investigating the heist and suspects that The Wolf may be behind it. She knows that the ghostman is a criminal but has no physical proof and she questions him as he tries to avoid her and go along with his mission.

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