“We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody threw the girl off the bridge.” 
― John D. MacDonald, Darker Than Amber (A great opening line)

 Want to write a mystery novel?

7 Tips for an edge-of-your-seat read:

  1. Write a great hook.  A hook is a line or image that creates curiosity and questions that keep readers wanting to know more.   Here's an example of a great hook from Dean Koontz's "Dragon Tears".
    ‘Tuesday was a fine California day, full of sunshine and promise, until Harry Lyon had to shoot someone at lunch.’ 
  2. The Reader is the number-one detective.​​ Engage the reader by leaving non-obvious clues throughout. Include truthful characters as well as not-so-truthful characters. Have more than one possible explanation.
  3. Use red herrings.  A red herring is a clue which is intended to be misleading or distracting. They should be scattered throughout the novel.
  4. ​Use suspenseful dialogue. Have characters lie, tell half-truths or say something bizarre or unexpected. Then, there's always the one who doesn't cooperate at all when questioned.
  5. Create a mysterious mood with setting and dialogue: She hastened along a narrow path, her eyes adjusting to the darkening forest.
  6. Open chapters with rising action: unknown settings, tense situations, discovery of a truth.
  7. Have a satisfying climax and resolution: an 'aha' moment. Make sure all questions are answered.

Ready to write your novel?

Who  wrote the first detective novel?

"The Notting Hill Mystery" appeared in Once A Week​ magazine on November 29, 1862. It was an eight-part serial, whose author remained anonymous until, in 1865, it was published in book form. At that time, the pseudonym of Charles Felix was given.

From a London Times reporter's research (in 1975), the publishers of the mystery had this to say: "It is unnecessary for us to state by what means the papers came to us."

"The Notting Hill Mystery" is, of course, set in London, England.  The wife of a Baron dies after sleepwalking into the Baron's lab and drinks a bottle of acid.

Was it really an accident?

Two great I-40 mysteries!

​Available here


Got a mystery in you?

​Submit your manuscript by October 31 and receive 25% off.

Email to:


In subject line: Code 25.

Send in MS Word format,

only please.

Always Inspiring

Story Lines

Did you know?

"Masterpiece" is now in its 47th season on PBS.

Some of the program's great mysteries are: 

Foyle's War, Inspector Lewis,
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, 
The Sally Lockhart Mysteries, Agatha Christie's:  Miss Marple, and Poirot. 
Wallander, and, of course, Sherlock.

Newsletter of StoryLine Publishing, LLC

St. Thomas, Pennsylvania

Fall, 2017

October is National Mystery Month!

StoryLine Publishing

“There are two kinds of people who sit around all day thinking about killing people...mystery writers and serial killers. I'm the kind that pays better.” 
Richard Castle, from the TV series, ​Castle.

An 'aha' moment allows the reader to say, 'I saw that coming' or 'I didn't see that coming, but it makes sense because of this, this and this.'