Mystery (10106)

iCode iType Loan Rule Loan Parameters Call Number Location New Items on STAR?
10106 95 67 21D YH YR $.10 M ### znaf Yes. Use iType 82 and location znan. Add STAR to OPAC call number.
What’s included:
  • Items with a ‘Detective and mystery fiction’ subject heading: Generally, if a book has this as a genre heading, put it in 10106 — even if it also has headings for related genres (Psychological fiction, Thrillers) that we tend to put in 10101. Ask yourself, does the reader know early on who committed the crime? If the answer’s no, err on the side of M, not F. Alternatively, if the writer’s made clear who the bad guy is and the plot revolves around stopping him from acting again, prefer F.
  • Books that fall into one of these mystery/thriller sub-genres:
    • Cozy: These have a unique and engaging protagonist and a generally lighthearted tone; they’re centered around a clever or intricate crime, and always have an ending in which justice prevails. Think Alexander McCall Smith or M.C. Beaton.
    • Hard-boiled: The hero here is a cop or PI, a tough and competent crime fighter who’s a little on the world-weary side. These include police procedurals, which often emphasize the inner dramas of city hall and the police dept. Endings usually aren’t as gentle as they are in a cozy: “Although the hero almost always sees that justice prevails, there is usually a bittersweet resolution. The streets remain mean; such is the human condition” (Writer’s Digest). Representative authors: Donna Leon and Michael Connelly.
    • Legal/courtroom drama: These focus on the minutiae of criminal law, following the work detectives and prosecutors do to bring a suspect to trial and conviction. Two big names: John Grisham and Scott Turow.
    • Some medical/forensic dramas: Here, the hero is some kind of technical professional (a coroner, forensic pathologist, etc.) who uses his scientific expertise as his weapon for fighting crime (as opposed to street smarts or actual weapons/martial arts skills). The pacing and tone are akin to those of a police procedural. Tess Gerritsen’s Rizoli and Isles series is a good example.
What’s not included:
  • Thrillers and psychological suspense novels that lack ‘Detective and mystery fiction’ subject headings. Again, if this heading isn’t there, put the item in F. NOTE: Pay close attention to items in a series, as they can be an exception to this rule. Preliminary or just less-than-ideal records sometimes omit the subject and genre headings that previous items in the series carried. So be sure to check earlier volumes before deciding M or F. Most of the records for John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series, for instance, have ‘Detective and mystery’ but a few don’t. Generally, don’t recatalog a whole series; just continue with whichever track we’ve been on (in the case of Connolly, we started him off in M and so have kept the series there).
  • Some novels that look like typical medical/forensic types but go in our regular F collection instead of M. Say a book has a medical professional as its protagonist and there’s suspense in the investigation following a death at the hospital where he works. We DO know the nature of the core problem — i.e., a woman died on the operating room table — and the tension comes not from figuring out the cause of that death so much it does from the internal hospital politics and personal dramas that come forth during the investigation. In this case, the suspense and “mystery” come from following those events, not from revealing and catching a criminal. A work like this would go in 10101.
  • Keep authors writing along the mystery/thriller line together. Check our holdings and match the location used, 10101 or 10106. Be particularly diligent about this with writers on the Automatically Yours list.
  • To keep volumes in the Akashic noir series together, enter them under M NOIx. See the image below.
  • In cases where a new, lesser-known writer has carried on a popular series by a deceased writer, use the lettering on the cover to determine which author to use on the spine. See the Naming Conventions page for more information.
  • Articles on the distinctions between the mystery and thriller genres:
Spine label and other info:
  • Add a “Mystery” genre sticker to the spine label. Also use a “Short story” sticker when appropriate.
  • Older titles re-released as part of the “Otto Penzler” series go to new shelving (znan) after initial processing. Other not-new books follow the general practice of going straight to znaf.

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