Posted by: nancycurteman | November 24, 2010

The Romantic Heroine in a Mystery Novel

With the rise in popularity of the romantic mystery in recent years, an interesting new character has arrived on the scene—the romantic heroine.

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.

Photo: Amtlab

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Responses

  1. This is what I want my novels to be. Not a “romance”, but an adventure, a mystery, a suspense, with romance (and sometimes XXX too :-] ) as part of it.

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    • All my mysteries have a touch of romance, usually between the detective and the female sleuth.

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  2. […] With the rise in popularity of the romantic mystery in recent years, an interesting new character has arrived on the scene—the romantic heroine. 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 her … Read More […]

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  3. Great post, Nancy, thank you. I’m a VI Warshawski girl. She is indomitable. She has been blown up, been the target of numerous guns, and attacked; and she still lives to battle through another novel. The woman is an icon.

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    • Warshawski is exactly the type of protagonist that appeals to the modern-day female mystery fan.

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  4. I’m not a reader of romance novels, but I like mysteries with secondary romantic involvement, if truly the romance is secondary and kept that way throughout the tale. I’m not sure why I like romance as a secondary theme. Perhaps it seems more true to life to me. If romance is all there is, it seems artificial. Well, that’s my guess. Off the cuff. I hate being wrong, but sometimes I am. Blessings to you and a happy Thanksgiving day…

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    • The key to a solid mystery is to keep all extra elements secondary to solving the crime.

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  5. Ahh…Does that mean that poor Lysi is fated to roam the world solving crimes without ever finding true love?

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    • Some day Lysi Weston, the sleuth in my mystery series, might settle down, but for the present she is just too busy chasing culprits.

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  6. I wonder is Miss Marple would have been improved with a love interest? Perhaps Hercule Poirot? 🙂

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    • Hercule Poirot met and fell in love with Vera Rossakoff, a Russian countess. She appears in two novels with him. Nothing could improve Miss Marple.

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  7. Very good, Nancy. Insightful as usual.

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  8. […] Tips: Developing Characters is No Mystery How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel The Romantic Heroine in a Mystery Novel How to Create Sympathetic Mystery Novel Characters How to Write Character Arc in a Mystery […]

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  9. […] Create Sympathetic Mystery Novel Characters How to Create Minor Characters in Your Mystery Novel The Romantic Heroine in a Mystery Novel Developing Characters is […]

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