Mystery fiction

Mystery (. Engl of mystery for " secret ", " mystery " ) is the German originally English term for a genre of popular literature, that can be understood best as a mixture of horror and fantasy elements; rarely come also references to science fiction before (eg Dark City Alex Proyas of 1998). The trigger for the current Mystery wave the television series The X-Files are often - The Files (1993-2002), the television series Lost (2004-2010) and the film The Sixth Sense (1999) M. Night Shyamalan called.

Conceptual history

While many people talk of mystery series, mystery movies and mystery literature, was occasionally encountered in the German designation as feminine, the mystery, well as with the preceding fantasy based on both modern genre strongly influences, traditional fantasy.

The term is a Scheinanglizismus, as the word mystery in English, an ordinary crime novel called, which manages usually without any supernatural happenings, and although the German mystery genre often explored the supernatural and research will rarely find yourself overlap with the actual crime genre in the form of gangs and crime investigation by police and detectives from which the term mystery, was probably originally derived in the form of a mistranslation or confusion due to a similarly gloomy and mysterious presentation as a crime novel.

Historically there have been in the U.S. pulp fiction short surfacing of the term mystery in the thirties and early forties of the 20th century in the context of the horror genre; This amount related to periodical publication series of dime novels and comics that were designated mystery in the magazine title (eg Thrilling Mysteries, Dime Mystery, Thrilling Mystery and Spicy Mystery ) and in which private investigators encountered monsters. The then contemporary term for this genre was short-lived, however, weird menace, while the German term mystery as a genre name came up until at least the mid-nineties.

The German genre term Mystery come in English probably still the genres dark fantasy and supernatural drama the next; simultaneously is the German Mystery still rather a particularly dark, mysterious style that works with vague hints of supernatural or occult fantasy and horror elements than for a specific genre term.

Demarcation from other genres

The best way to Mystery from other genres differentiate by considering the approach used there to alleged supernatural phenomena. Here, a special affinity of the Mystery Genre falls on to ambivalence, ambiguity and opaqueness, and indeed an ambivalence of both the presentation and perception, as well as an ambivalence of the behind supernatural events motivations, intentions or triggers.

In contrast to the horror film, the representation of the uncanny is much more cautious, as there is usually no simple good / evil scheme. The human main characters and their emotions are more prominent; instead of the indicated supernatural events is often rather experienced by the characters subjective perception of scary feelings or push it clear from the overall impact of images, sounds and music, which is why a certain proximity to the psychological thriller is. In the horror film everything supernatural is generally real, whereas when working with vague hints Mystery film rarely a separation between reality and imagination or illusion takes place, or at the very least delayed much longer.

In general it can be said that in addition to the perception and the supernatural, paranormal and the afterlife are represented as much more ambivalent. While ghosts and the undead in the horror film mostly as a personification of evil, as, therefore, come evil per se, the plot of a mystery film usually works in such a way that the frightening messages from the beyond and the appearance of the undead have a sense that the protagonists in itself throughout the film opens. Classically, for example, wants to make an undead on the injustice that was inflicted on him, attentive or even warn the protagonists before impending disaster.


In the television series is called series in the style of Twin Peaks, X-Files, Lost, Fringe, X - Factor, Haven, Supernatural, Twilight Zone or Outer Limits - The unknown dimension as a mystery series. Frequently, find conspiracy theories use, after which government, state agencies and other powerful organization actively cover up the supernatural. A German version of this TV genre was the series Operation Phoenix - hunter between the worlds, which was produced and broadcast by RTL 1997, but it took only one season. One of the main roles is played Dirk Martens.

Also in the range of films we speak of Mystery: This can be done, for example, Alejandro Amenábar's The Others (2001) and the films of the US- directors M. Night Shyamalan and David Lynch are.

In the field of literature is one among others Christian Humbergs Gotham Noir from the Rohde Publisher as a mystery series.