5) Mystery Self Studies

Before we started the mystery self studies, we had to read a mystery genre story. For me I read the “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie. After we read our mystery short stories, we were told to fill in these works which are called the mystery self studies. In each part, we analyse and take apart almost every aspect of the novel and write it down in to words. Also we look at how the author uses different ways to write so that the ready could read with interest. We did this so that we can gain some knowledge on what to add on to our mystery stories when we write later on.

1) Mystery self study (part 1)


2) Mystery self study (part 2)


3) Mystery self study (part 3)

6) Mystery Short Story Blog Post

In this assignment, we had to write a mystery short story. However, it wasn’t just a mystery short story. We had to go through various stages of planning and make our stories to life. We had to have various requirements such as adding figurative language. We also had to use the knowledge that we gained while doing the mystery novel study. Some examples are Show don’t tell and red herrings. I have tried really hard to put all of the requirements in and make the best story I could possibly produce.

My story is called El Gato Gordo (The fat cat) and deals with the catastrophes that happen when the photographer Arnold Mayer, goes to his grandmother, Marcela Mayer’s, family reunion in a mansion.

Reflection Question: Did the Mystery Self-Study and your understanding of the elements of mysteries help you write a better story? Why or why not?

The mystery self- study and my understanding of the elements of mysteries helped me write a better story because these days, I don’t read mysteries for a free time book and if we didn’t have to read a mystery book in the first place, I wouldn’t be able to know the characteristics and how they are used in an actual story. Also I found out while I was reading “Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie about how long the each sections of a mystery ex) denoument should be. It especially helped me because we analysed it as well.

The following are the works that I produced (They are listed by the order I did them in) :

1) Story Planning GO

2) Characterization GO


3) Rough draft Copy


4) Annotated rough drafts completed by your peer editors

i) Filippo

ii) Rachael

5) Final highlighted copy


6) Final Un-highlighted copy

7) Final Checked copy by Mr. Johnson

4) Mystery Student Led Discussion

1. Discussion Video: Lannisters I

This is the google hangouts recorded video of the discussion of the Lannisters I group.


2. Discussion web

This is the discussion web drawn to find who talked to who during the discussion. One can see that everyone talked and the web is generally spread around and we talked more than once.
3. graphic organizer/active readings

These are some of the graphic organisers and mini active readings we did. For the mystery discussion, we had The first one is the graphic organiser that we wrote about the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle “The tale of the Speckled Band”. Then there are the two mini active readings on “The tale of the Speckled Band” and the book by Agatha Christie “Death on the Nile”.

4. Questions

1) Did the Mystery SLD help your understanding of the genre of mystery or literature in general? If so, how? If no, why not?

The mystery student led Discussion helped my understanding of the genre of mystery and literature in general because I not only knew my knowledge on the mystery genre, all of my group mates also knew information and we shared it together. This helped us mend in any holes in our knowledge that we had.

Also we talked about each element of mystery fiction and how it applied to the books that we had read and the extra short readings and movie that we watched. This way we could clarify our knowledge and share it with the team. This also made little debates in the middle about which story had a good sense of the elements of mystery fiction and it was interesting and it also helped me clarify the meanings of the elements of mystery fiction.

After the discussion and looking back on it, I wondered what would happen if we were reading another genre of a book. What elements would that genre have. I became interested in another aspect of english literature.


2) How would you change this activity to better fit the course needs? Would you have it over just one reading? Your own book? Be specific please. 

Even though this discussion and activity helps me learn new things and is good in many ways, there are a lot of things that I would change in this activity to make it more of a corporative activity.

First of all,  what I would change is that we are too free to talk about what we want to. I noticed while we were doing the discussion that sometimes we were looking at each other because we ran out of topics to talk about and we couldn’t think of any. There were plenty of themes but we just didn’t have a frame we had to pick from. Next time, I think it would be best if we were given a broad question or a topic that we could talk about. That way we won’t get lost. There was only one thing I would change but there are two things that I want to keep same that we changed from the previous discussions.

Second of all, I would never have it over one reading because I saw while we were doing the Romeo and Juliet student led discussions that students will just repeat round and round what was said before which really got the audience and the participators board. When we were doing this activity we had about 3 books that we could relate to the speckled band, Death on the Nile and your own book (coincidentally Death on the Nile was my book). This was one change that was made to the previous discussion which I think we should keep because I realised that I had more things to say.

Lastly, one thing that I would keep that we added new to this discussion was the idea of putting our books when we were talking about it. Because my book was Death on the Nile, I didn’t get to get a word in about my book but some of the others did which was great and we had a time to find out about each other’s books which was a good opportunity to find great books to read. We should do this more often.


3) What did you think of the google form for feedback? Did you like the Hangout chat you were able to have during the discussion? What other activities could we use to better engage those who are watching the discussion?

There were a lot of tools that we used other than the discussion and the pieces of papers. We used google form for feedback and Hang out chats.

First of all, I thought that the idea for the google form for feedback was great because some of us are very slow at writing and for me, it really helped me write any positive or constructive feedback right after someone in the discussion made the statement. This way, I remember when I read my comments what I was talking about and how their overall, discussion was. I can also remember specific comments that the peers have made which is one good thing.

Second of all, we used the Hang out chat. I didn’t see the hang out chat until in the weekends which was unfortunate but I saw what the class talked about and I thought it was very useful because you can share your opinion on the other team’s discussion together to see what you can write in your own google form.

Lastly, some other tools that we can use to better engage the audience is after the other team has their discussion we should have more time to give them more thorough feed back because 3 minutes is not a lot of time. Also, this will help prepare us for the next discussion and we will be able to know what we could have improved from their discussion.

3) Mystery Novel Review

1. About Death on the Nile: My mystery Novel

Blog-DeathonNileCoverTitle: Death on the Nile

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery- Cozy

About: This book have a detective (protagonist) who has a name of Hercule Poirot. He is a famous detective and is going to Egypt to have a rest on a cruise. On the cruise he meets a couple who are Linnet and Simon Doyle enjoying their honey moon. However, they tell him that a stalker who was Simon’s fiancé follows them everywhere that they go. Later it is found out that Linnet Doyle was killed. This is the puzzle. The whole book revolves around finding out who killed Linnet Doyle and why.


2. Rate the story by stars (our of five). 

I give this book…

스크린샷 2014-02-13 6.12.34 PM

The reason I gave this book a 5 out of 5 was because it was both easy to analyse and a very fun read.
3. Write up a small paragraph giving your overall thoughts on the book. Did you like it? Why or why not? 

The overall, thoughts of this book to me was positive. Since I was little I started reading a series of mystery short children novels called “The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler  Warner. I started reading the whole series but I grew away from this series as I grew up. Since then I didn’t read much of mystery novels for fun. However, this book was the first mystery that I actually enjoyed since “The boxcar Children”.

I was fairly impressed how Agatha Christie makes is so that you get attached emotionally to the characters. Christie makes sure that the reader does not take the book out of your hand because you want to know what happens to the character.

I also liked how Christie deals with realism and logic in this novel. She made the reason of the crime which is that of a crime that is likely to happen in real life. This is money. There was nothing un realistic in this story.

Another thing that I liked was the way Christie Manipulated that red-herrings so that they would fool you. It is not easy to put in red herring and I know this because I am writing my own mystery fiction. The way that Christie puts multiple red-herrings is fascinating and adds the fun in to reading this story.

I would recommend this book for a fun read if someone likes mysteries that are suspenseful.


4. Would you recommend this book to another student for this assignment? Did it work well? Or not?

I said that I enjoyed this book and I would recommend this book for a fun read. I would also recommend this book to another student for this assignment. Because it has plenty of elements of mystery fiction and analysing it worked well.

First of all, it worked well because as I mentioned previously, it contains a lot of elements of element fiction. For example multiple red herrings are mentioned such as the J engraved with Linnet’s blood, the pearls that were thrown to the sea and etc. You can learn about how the red herrings are formed and how you can imply them in to your story.

Another reason why this worked well was because it was a typical Agatha Christie Cozy. There is a murder and her detective finds out what it is with detecting skills. It is not a thriller and is not fast passed which helps students find out the elements much easier.


5. Works Cited

Works Cited

Christie, Agatha. Death on the Nile. London: HarperCollins, 2001. Print.

N.d. Photograph. Carmelrowley. Web. 13 Feb. 2014. <http://carmelrowley.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Blog-DeathonNileCover.jpg>.

2) Elements of Mystery Fiction 2

I. Questions

1. What does Tapply say are the six main elements of mystery fiction? Address each one separately, and give a thorough explanation for each. 

a) The puzzle

The puzzle is the question that fuels the mystery and the mystery revolves around the puzzle. The broad question that the puzzle is is “who did it?”. Some specific questions could be “who stole the diamond?” or “Who murdered him?”.

b) Detection

Detection is almost all of the body of the mystery fiction. This is when someone or a group of people are trying to detect and solve the puzzle by gathering different clues and witnesses. The story resolves when the detection ends and the puzzle is solved.

c) The sleuth as the Hero

The sleuth is the detective or the Hero/Heroine who saves the day by detecting the different clues to piece them up to solve the puzzle. The sleuth has a lot of good characteristics such as intelligence, charm, strength or all of these characteristics. The sleuth is usually the protagonist of the story.

d) The worthy Villain

The villain is the antagonist of the story who tries to sneak out from the sleuth’s radar. The villain is not dumb but is as intelligent as the sleuth creating false traps or holes to get away with a murder, a robbery, etc.

e) Fair Play

Fair play is an important part of a mystery and a reader might not enjoy a mystery fiction without fair play. Fair play is a characteristic where in the book the clues that are available to the sleuth is available to the reader so the reader can try to solve the crime with the sleuth. This prevents the reader from being board.

f) Realism and Logic

Realism and Logic is another important part of mystery fiction. The whole point of mystery fiction is for the hole thing to fit in to the puzzle. The story has to seem real because if it doesn’t the readers can not be one with the book and fall in to it as easily.

2. What does it mean to make the “reader as a participant” in a mystery? Which author was the first to do this? 

To take the “reader as a participant” in a mystery means that the author gives certain amount of information so that the reader can feel like he or she is exactly in the book. This can be very hard for the authors because they have to give what the readers want. The readers want the clues that the sleuth has so that they can also try to solve the mystery themselves. This is something called fair play. However, the readers don’t want to be treated like babies and doesn’t want the author or the sleuth to lead them to every single step so that they don’t have a chance of solving the problem.

In fair play, it also means fair play between the readers and the detective. If the author gives more information to the readers or vise versa it would mean that one side wouldn’t be able to solve the case easier than the other.

3. One of the keys to good creative writing, is to “show, don’t tell.” What does this mean? Give an original example of what “show, don’t tell” means, either in a book you’ve read, or in real life.

One of the keys to good creative writing, which is to “show, don’t tell” means for the author to not describe everything. In real life no narrator tells you what the person is thinking, you have to notice yourself or make an assumption. This is what “show, don’t tell” means. Some might think that this isn’t fair but this makes the readers have more fun. Fair play also pitches in to this. If the narrator tells you information, obviously the sleuth doesn’t know it which means that fair play has been violated. The author tries his or her best to describe every motion that the person is making so that you can depict it and find out yourself.

An example of this can be in real life. For example, once my friend was sad and when I asked if something was wrong, she said no. I could tell something was wrong because she was trying hard to fake smile and her eyes were damp.


II. Works Cited

Works Cited

Tapply, William G. The Elements of Mystery Fiction: Writing a Modern Whodunit. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen, 2004. Print.

1) Anatomy of a Mystery and Elements of Mystery Fiction 1

I. Questions


1. What defines a mystery? What constitutes a mystery book? 

A mystery is a type of genre in which the plot includes some kind of crime. The constitutions of the mystery book, specifically the crime is the usual, who did it. Some specific examples of this question can be “who stole it?” or “who murdered him?”
2. Give a brief history of the mystery genre to include the contributions of: Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Agatha Christie. Be sure to describe how each one of these people has shaped/changed the genre of mystery. (When a name of an author is mentioned, it is bolded)


Mystery Fiction was first written by the writer and poet, Edgar Allen Poe, in 1841. Edgar Allen Poe had his short story “The Murders in the Rue Morge.” In this story one can see that it is a typical ‘who did it’ type of story including a smart and intelligent detective C. Auguste Dupin. There were a lot of Murder literature in the past. However, no one attempted to make a story about someone solving that problem.

Edgar Allen Poe was the first one to write in the Mystery Genre but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the one who made it immensely popular in 1891. Doyle had his own detective which was Sherlock Holmes. Holmes was a very intelligent detective like Poe’s Dupin. However, one thing that was different from Poe’s story was that Holmes had a partner who was Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson was not a genius like Holmes and is like the readers. This creates some similarities between the character and the reader which makes it more interesting for the reader to read.

97l/29/huty/7633/12However, in both Dyles and Poe’s books the readers couldn’t follow Dupin and Holmes because they would not tell the readers about some of the clues or information and the reader would feel blown away when the Detective reveals the truth of the crime. Agatha Christie was the one who changed this for the readers. Agatha Christie included an element called fair play in the mystery world which means that the reader has the same amount of clues and information as the detective. If there was one twist to these stories was the the plots were bizarre and the characters did not resembled real humans. The age of fair play was known as “The classical Age” in the world of Mystery Fiction.

After that is when Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler come in. They are the American writers who created the genre of “hard-boiled” mysteries. These were almost the opposite of the stories from the classical Age dealing with characters that actual humans might resemble topics that were true to the world. One can say that “hard boiled” mysteries were more gruesome than the stories that cam in the classical age.


3. Give a small description of the eight different sub-genres of mystery (The Detective Story, The Private Eye Story, The Hard-boiled Detective Story, The Crime Story, Psychological Suspense Story ,The Thriller Story, The Cozy Story. 

a) The detective Story: Edgar Allen Poe was the first one who started the detective Story sub genre. This is the sub genre that most people consider the “main” genre of a mystery. The detective Stories mostly include crime and the usual revealing of the culprit who was not thought of to be the culprit. It also includes fake clues and innocent people who are faulted. Some famous detectives from this genre is Miss. Marple, a detective by Agatha Christie and C/ Auguste Dupin of Edgar Allen Poe.

b) The Private Eye Story: The private eye story is nearly identical to the detective story. However, it includes a private investigator. This genre also deals with the “who done its”, crime, and murder.

c) The Hard-boiled Detective Story: The hard-boiled detective story came from America in the 20th century. Some famous authors of this genre is Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. This does not deal with detectives and deals with the police. This genre is mostly for men because it includes bad language and much violence and might be uncomfortable to read.

d) The Crime Story: This genre is very hard to define because there is a line between when a crime story becomes a mystery and when it isn’t included as a mystery. When the story is from the criminals point of view, it is considered not a mystery because you already know who the criminal is. A important point of the crime story is that they don’t exactly have the happiest of endings.

e) Psychological Suspense Story: psychological suspense causes chills when you are reading that particular story. The book is filled of fear and you as the plot develops the tension created becomes higher and higher. There is not a lot of Detecting and some might think that they are closer to the genre of horror than that of a mystery.

f) The Thriller Story: The thriller story is depicted differently in different countries. However, the main idea is that the story is very fast paced and very active which includes some kind of adventure. You can say that they are not really detectives and are Heroes and Heroines.

g) The Cozy Story: The Cozy story is the exact opposite of the Hard-boiled stories. This is more for the females because they don’t actually describe the moment of the murder or of violence strongly and it usually happens behind the scenes. A famous cozy writer is Agatha Christie.
4. Identify which genre you want to read, and include a description as to why.

If I was to pick which genre I would read, I would pick the cozy story or psychological suspense. First of all, I would pick the cozy story because I don’t like reading uncomfortable or violent things and if they had to happen I would like them to happen off camera so I don’t read it at the spot. cozy books seem to work for me because they seem to fit the female readers and seem to match their point of view. The second genre I chose was the psychological suspense because I like horror stories and I like getting chills. The reason why I like horror is because there is a major twist at the climax and it is interesting to read up until that point.

II. Works Cited

Works Cited

“Anatomy of a Mystery.” PublishersWeekly.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/print/20050418/22684-anatomy-of-a-mystery.html>.

N.d. Photograph. Biography. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://www.biography.com/imported/images/Biography/Images/Profiles/C/Agatha-Christie-9247405-1-402.jpg>.

N.d. Photograph. Mhpbooks. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://cdn.mhpbooks.com/uploads/2013/03/sherlock-holmes.jpg>.

N.d. Photograph. Wikimedia. Web. 11 Dec. 2013. <http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fb/Edgar_Allan_Poe_portrait_B.jpg>.

Tapply, William G. The Elements of Mystery Fiction: Writing a Modern Whodunit. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen, 2004. N. pag. Print.