In the mystery novel the romantic heroine’s love life is not the primary focus. Her principal function in the story is chasing down clues and solving crimes. Her romantic escapades add a bit of spice to the plot but play a secondary role. This is one of the major differences between the mystery novel heroine and the female main character in a romance novel in which finding the love of her life is the primary goal.
The romantic heroine in the modern mystery novel is a model for today’s woman. She is capable, courageous, takes risks and makes her own choices. She takes the lead in investigating and solving crimes. She may be in law enforcement or she may have another profession but be cast into the role of sleuth due to circumstances that occur in her life.
The romantic heroine will be the equal of her male lead. She will equal him in intelligence, education, aggressiveness and achievement. In fact, she may uncover information and clues that lead to solving the crime before he does.
Female mystery novel readers understand and identify with the new romantic heroine. They may even want to emulate her. Mystery writers would do well to recognize the rise in popularity of this character and write her into their novels.