Relationships in the Mystery Novel

GUEST POST: STACI TROILO, author of Mystery Heir

The Role of Relationships in the Mystery Novel

I was blessed to get to create a novel for the Mystery, Ink. line. Mystery, Ink.: Mystery Heir is in Naomi’s point of view because she was the one I could relate to the most.

  • College professor (her currently, me formerly)
  • Moved a lot (her as a child, me as an adult)
  • Martial arts background
  • Strong familial ties

Most of my fiction has a strong relationship component. The original title of this novel was Daddy Issues because of the powerful and poignant father-child dynamics explored. Just a few of the issues addressed are abandonment, atonement, neglect, and unrestricted love.


Naomi’s best friend growing up, Hannah, came from a broken home. Being raised worrying about money was bad enough, but not having the love and support of a father was even more difficult. Seeing how difficult things were for Hannah stirred in Naomi a fierce desire to obtain justice for children with deadbeat dads.


At some point, deadbeat dads may realize what they missed. In addition to guilt, there’s an acknowledgement that needs to occur. In Mystery, Ink.: Mystery Heir, one such character realizes his mistake. He tries to atone for his actions, but it proves to be too little, too late.


Some fathers start out as wonderful parents, but through extenuating circumstances find themselves no longer part of their child’s life. Mystery, Ink.: Mystery Heir explores the effects neglect can have on a family.

Unrestricted Love

Some fathers are just destined to earn Father-of-the-Year awards every year. There is an example of this devoted father in the novel, as well. In addition to depicting the benefits of a healthy father-child relationship, the story also examines what happens when that love is snatched away.

Relationships and Mysteries

A perusal of old mysteries, like Murder, She Wrote and Perry Mason, shows mysteries to be simply a matter of clue assessment before revealing the solution.

There is little in the way of interpersonal relationships. And that worked for stories of the past. Relationships were confined to coworkers and the occasional friend. Not much was known about family-lives or histories of these detectives, and not much was done to explore those of the suspects either.

Times have changed.

Granted, many readers don’t like to mix genres. Sure, maybe a little suspense thrown into a thriller or some fantasy in a romance is fine. But diehard fans of certain genres don’t want to see an amalgam of other story types entering their form. They are purists.

But even plot-driven stories depend on characters to propel the action.

Mystery, Ink.: Mystery Heir is a mystery. Plain and simple. There is no romance (although there’s innuendo). There are no sci-fi or paranormal elements. It’s a story that’s grounded in reality.

And the reality is that relationships define characters as much as their reactions do.

Relationships are here to stay. And I’m grateful for it.

Available on Amazon



About Lawrence and Suella Walsh
Managing Editors of Mystery, Ink. Novels. Taught writing for 20 years at Johnson County Community College. Freelance writers with 12 published books and more than 100 articles and short stories in national magazines. Owners of Walsh Writing Services.

One Response to Relationships in the Mystery Novel

  1. Pingback: Staci Troilo

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