I’ve read several articles about mystery/thriller/crime tropes that have become cliche. How many have I used in my Marnie Reilly Mysteries series?
Alleged Cliche Mystery/Thriller/Crime Tropes
- The Killer is a Shy Weirdo. Nope. Creekwood has its fair share of weirdos, but none have committed murder that I know of. There is one character who everyone assumed was a bit like this—but not Marnie. She doesn’t judge … much.
- The Butler Did It. The good folk of Creekwood don’t tend to have butlers, but to be honest, it would be fun if one had sketchy house-staff.
- The Narrator Dunnit. Since I write the Marnie Reilly Mysteries series in third-person, so that means me, but I did not do it. Well, I wrote it, so I guess I did. Oops!
- Everybody Dunnit. Nah. I haven’t had a conspiracy killing or several people confessing to a murder they didn’t commit.
- Everyone thinks the protagonist is an idiot, but she’s/he’s actually the only smart one. No one thinks Marnie Reilly is an idiot. Even Captain Sterling doesn’t think that. She just annoys the hell out of him.
- The sidekick never ceases to be amazed by the protagonist’s brilliance. Marnie’s sidekick is her Border Collie Tater, so of course her brilliance amazes him. That’s how dogs feel about their person.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop. Detective Danny Gregg and Detective Tom Keller have their moments, but they never play that game.
- The Shoot Out. Nope! Well, maybe a little in the cellar scene in Divine Guidance.
- The Cops in the Cafe. Ryan’s is a diner—not a cafe. C’mon! They’ve gotta eat!
- Cop’s Estranged Wife. Danny was married, but his wife died. Hmm … Is a dead wife considered estranged?
How did I do?
Five out of ten isn’t terrible. I mean, it’s a MYSTERY series. There have to be some of the genre tropes in my books. At least I didn’t use the usual suspect—the butler has never dunnit! Yet!
What about you?
What tropes do you love or hate in your preferred genre? Tell me in the comments section below.