Traditional Mystery--Is it on life support or just needing a face lift?

I've always loved the elements of mystery in a good story. Who doesn't want to read and solve the case along with the protagonist? There's nothing better than a good puzzle. But readers today seem to have the attention span of Robin Williams on crack. Do you think the traditional mystery genre needs a shot in the arm to capture new market?

If you think the genre is healthy and thriving, please share your thoughts, but if you think it could benefit from a good face lift, what would you suggest?

And to stir up the discussion--What about the cross genre story? What genre combinations work best with mystery--enough to satisfy the traditional mystery lovers?

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Dan Brown doesn't have to care whether his next book is successful or not. He's made it so big on the Code. Yet, can you imagine the pressure to even follow that book? I tend to agree with your take on the cabbage patch doll theory for him.

Jeff had talked about writing the books you love to write. And that's a great point. But I also find I like the challenge of writing something I've never done or wouldn't necessarily pursue unless it's set before me on a dare. Then I get my Irish stubborn up and go for it. I'm intrigued by the challenge. Basically, if there is a compelling emotional aspect to the work, I would want to write that story.
I think readers have plenty of mystery in their daily lives. We're chock full of mysteries. I've just about figured out all the gadgetry of my new cell phone, but it will be outdated in three months. There are two seasons in Wisconsin: Winter and Construction. Orange barrels and detours are more comforting to local drivers than long stretches of uninterupted concrete and curbing. So I think that may contribute to the Mork-on-Crank analogy that Jordan made. I wonder if we think we know too damn much for our own good and want other elements in a story to keep us from flipping to the last chapter and going, "Hah, I knew it all along; gotta go, See ya."
LOL--I used to live in WI (Madison) for 4 yrs and in Alaska for 10. I know about winter and construction seasons.

And your point about knowing too much is a good one. For many books I read, I feel like I'm peeking behind the curtain of the Great Oz, privvy to all his secrets and plot devices. But first and foremost, I'm a reader who loves to be drawn in. And if another author makes me forget I'm a writer, then I've probably found a keeper.

Personally, my biggest mystery these days is how to operate the damned fancy TV my hubby bought. Whatever happened to the damned on off button? And when did we ever get to be a three remote family--to operate one TV? Actually, now that I'm thinking about it---Maybe husbands need to come with instructions.


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