Aging reader population in mystery genre

I've heard this comment often in here. The mystery/detective genre's fans are getting long in the tooth--becoming antique oddities--and apparently there is no fresh blood coming into the fold.

Is that true? Really? I dunno--I am, like most of you, involved in other forums and interest sites, and I've have to say, I'm impressed with the number of readers under the age of 40 who frequent these places and love to read mystery/detectives. I don't see what the factors are which would 'turn off' younger readers from discovering this medium. Frankly, overall, I would think the numbers remain relatively the same--now if you're making this decision on the basis of who buy's a detective novel--well then, I think perceptions get skewered dramatically.

What do you think?

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Comment by Dana King on February 14, 2009 at 2:24am
I attended my first Bouchercon last year and noticed virtually everyone there was either middle-aged or about to be. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Tastes may change as people age, so tomorrow's mystery readers may be reading something else now. It's not like the mystery readers were decrepit.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on February 13, 2009 at 1:41pm
Isn't it amazing how Raymond Chandler's name keep cropping up all the time. And you're right about Fantasy being more of an eye-catcher for the youth. Still, you walk into a book store and the two largest fiction areas are Mysteries and Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
Comment by Clair Dickson on February 13, 2009 at 1:34pm
I don't often seem to find myself surrounded by other youngsters... I think the problem may lie in the stereotypical view of mysteries. If I hadn't found Raymond Chandler, and instead had thought mysteries were populated by crime solving old ladies, I don't know if I would have found much love for the genre.

And then you've got certain mystery authors who's books are more about the character's love lifes (often I think because the authors' roots were in romance and never did leave it behind!) and it creates a different image of mystery books. Now, hand some of these youngsters some Chandler or Hammet or even some James Cain (like I do in my Movies v. Books classes) and they eat it right up. Fantasy has a much better repuation for exciting climatic battles where the hero wins... and mystery is the dramatic reveal over tea or something. It's an image problem, I think.

I'm hoping I can get Bo Fexler's novel out in the world and change some minds about detective fiction. ;-)

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