64 Mystery Writing Prompts Across All Genres

Mystery Writing Prompts

Mystery stories are the best, aren’t they?

There’s something so cool about the thrill of suspense and figuring out those mind-blowing twists.

As writers, we’re always looking for that perfect spark to get a new mystery story going. It can be hard to know where to even begin sometimes!

Well, guess what?

You’re in the right place.

My team and I (they’re super creative) put together this awesome blog post packed with killer mystery writing prompts.

We tried to cover a bunch of different styles so there’s something for everyone. Think of them as the keys to unlocking your next awesome mystery!

Let’s dig in, shall we?

Classic Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. Murder at the Manor: In a remote countryside manor, a prominent aristocrat is found murdered after a grand banquet. None of the guests have left the premises due to an unforeseen storm, and they all have seemingly perfect alibis. Your protagonist, an amateur detective, is one of the guests and must uncover the truth. The protagonist must solve the murder while being a part of the suspect pool themselves.

  2. The Whispering Gallery: A prestigious art gallery is reputed to be haunted, with strange whispers heard at night. One day, a renowned critic who dismissed these whispers as superstitions is found dead under a prized painting, with a strange message etched on the floor. The protagonist, an art-loving detective, is called upon to untangle the eerie mystery. The detective must solve the critic’s death intertwined with the supernatural legends surrounding the art gallery.

  3. The Last Will of the Duke: A wealthy duke dies unexpectedly, leaving behind a convoluted will that suggests his vast fortune is hidden somewhere within his expansive estate. Suddenly, potential heirs begin to die under suspicious circumstances. Your protagonist, a sharp-minded lawyer, suspects foul play and sets out to reveal the serial killer while deciphering the cryptic will. Unraveling the mystery of the will is as crucial as finding the murderer.

  4. The Vanishing Train: During the maiden voyage of a new luxury train line, a passenger mysteriously vanishes overnight. The train hasn’t stopped since its departure, and there are no signs of foul play. The protagonist, a retired police officer traveling on the train, must unravel the enigma. The mystery unfolds within the confined and moving space of the train.

  5. The Clockmaker’s Puzzle: A revered clockmaker dies, leaving behind a seemingly ordinary clock. However, when it strikes midnight, a secret compartment opens, revealing a cryptic note. The note leads to an unexpected trail of unsolved murders in the quiet town. The protagonist, a historian with a knack for solving puzzles, must decode the message and solve the murders. A historical puzzle and a string of unsolved murders become mysteriously interconnected.

  6. The Green Room Mystery: In an acclaimed theater, the lead actor is found murdered in the locked green room minutes before the show. Only the other actors had access, but none can explain what happened. The protagonist, a detective and an old friend of the theater owner, must dissect the lies, alibis, and stage personas to find the truth. The detective has to penetrate the theatrical pretenses to uncover the murderer.

  7. The Silent Choir: In a small town, the members of an all-female choir start disappearing one by one. The local police are clueless, and panic begins to spread. A renowned detective with a personal connection to one of the missing choir members takes on the case. She must delve into the town’s dark secrets to find the missing women. The fate of the choir women hinges on revealing the dark underbelly of the seemingly peaceful town.

  8. The Librarian’s Code: A reclusive librarian is found dead in the middle of his labyrinthine library, clutching a book with a coded message. The investigation reveals a series of thefts of rare books that no one had noticed. The protagonist, a cryptography expert, is called in to crack the code and expose the thief. The librarian’s death and the stolen books all hinge on breaking a mysterious code.

Crime Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. Stolen Innocence: A dedicated social worker stumbles upon a major child trafficking ring while trying to locate a missing child under her care. The police are involved but progress is slow and bureaucratic. The social worker decides to take matters into her own hands and risks everything to bring the perpetrators to justice. The social worker is both the investigator and the protector in a dangerous underworld.

  2. Smoke and Mirrors: A series of high-profile robberies are sweeping the city, targeting only the wealthiest citizens. Each crime is flawless, leaving no traces behind. A seasoned detective known for his unconventional methods is given the task of solving the case, but he quickly realizes that the robberies are a smokescreen for a much darker motive. The detective must look beyond the obvious crimes to uncover a hidden and more sinister plot.

  3. Double-Crossed: A skilled con artist is caught in the middle of a scam by a mysterious figure who knows too much about his past. To his surprise, the figure does not turn him in but instead presents a plan for an impossible heist that could set him free for good. Driven into a corner, the con artist must navigate through a web of lies and deceit. The con artist becomes a pawn in a dangerous game of deception.

  4. The Copycat: A series of crimes replicating infamous historical crimes are shaking the city. The public is in a frenzy, and the police are struggling to find any leads. A criminology professor with a deep knowledge of criminal history is enlisted to help crack the case and must use his expertise to predict the criminal’s next move. The professor must leverage his historical knowledge to predict the future.

  5. Echoes from the Past: A diary detailing a series of unsolved crimes from the past is discovered during the renovation of an old house. The crimes eerily match a recent series of murders in the town. The protagonist, a determined local journalist, decides to solve the mystery by unraveling the connections between the past and present crimes. The journalist is tasked with connecting the threads of past and present crimes.

  6. Undercover Game: A deep-cover agent embedded in a notorious crime syndicate is on the brink of gathering the necessary evidence to bring down the organization. However, when a fellow agent is suspected of being a mole, she must walk the dangerous line of maintaining her cover while unmasking the traitor. The agent must play both sides of the law to survive and achieve her mission.

  7. The Sinister Deal: An honest detective stumbles upon a case that points to a powerful politician being involved in organized crime. As he delves deeper, he faces resistance and threats from all sides. The detective must decide whether to risk his life and those of his loved ones to expose the truth. The detective’s personal and professional lives are at stake in the pursuit of justice.

  8. The Forgotten Town: A small forgotten town is plagued by a sudden rise in crime. The local law enforcement is overwhelmed, and an experienced detective from the city is sent to help. But upon arrival, he finds that the crimes are just the tip of the iceberg of the town’s deep-seated corruption. The detective must unearth the roots of the corruption to solve the escalating crimes.

Fun Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. The Case of the Missing Pants: A small town wakes up one day to find all their pants missing. The local police are baffled, and the only detective in town is an overly serious retiree who’s baffled by the silliness of the crime. In between fits of laughter and absurd witness testimonies, the detective must solve the town’s most “stripping” case yet. The detective must solve the ridiculous, yet troubling, case of the missing pants.

  2. The Unwilling Ghost Whisperer: A rather skeptical private investigator suddenly finds himself able to communicate with ghosts. His first case? A spirited spectral comedian from the ’50s who insists he didn’t die from natural causes but was murdered. The investigator must solve the cold case while dealing with his annoyingly humorous and insistent spectral sidekick. The investigator must solve a murder mystery with the constant, humorous banter of a ghostly comedian.

  3. Dognapped!: The town’s most beloved dog, a mischievous Basset Hound, is dognapped. The only one who can solve the case is a witty and sarcastic postman who has a love-hate relationship with the hound. While dealing with quirky townfolk and a series of funny misadventures, the postman must find the dognapper. The postman must track down the beloved Basset Hound, navigating through humorous encounters and comical missteps.

  4. Chef Catastrophe: The head chef of a popular restaurant turns up missing on the eve of a big culinary competition. A clumsy yet loveable kitchen hand, known for his uncanny ability to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, turns detective. Amidst culinary disasters and a barrage of food puns, he must solve the mystery and save the restaurant’s reputation. The kitchen hand must solve the mystery amid culinary chaos and hilarious food puns.

  5. The Accidental Spy: An eccentric travel blogger accidentally receives a classified document, mistaking it for her travel itinerary. Suddenly, she finds herself being chased by bumbling spies from various intelligence agencies. Using her wits and travel experience, she must outsmart them and solve the mystery behind the classified document. The travel blogger becomes an accidental spy in a globe-trotting adventure.

  6. Alien Shenanigans: In a small town famous for its annual “Alien Festival,” a charismatic UFO enthusiast reports the town’s first “actual” alien abduction. The town’s overly practical sheriff, who thinks aliens are hogwash, must investigate while dealing with the escalating alien hysteria and his own disbelief. The skeptical sheriff has to manage alien frenzy while solving the town’s first ‘real’ alien abduction case.

  7. Murder Most Fowl: The diva mascot of a small chicken farm, Henrietta the hen, is found “fowl” played. The only one who can crack the case is a wise-cracking farmhand who has always claimed to understand ‘chicken talk’. With plenty of poultry puns and farmyard folly, he must solve the case before the farm’s Chicken Beauty Pageant. The farmhand must use his ‘chicken talk’ to navigate through poultry puns and solve the murder of the diva hen.

  8. The Fortune Cookie Caper: A fortune cookie factory starts producing cookies with ominous threats instead of fortunes, causing widespread panic. A pair of bumbling yet well-meaning detectives is assigned to the case. Amid comical factory chaos and confusing cookie fortunes, they must find the person responsible. The detectives must solve the mystery in the midst of confusing fortunes and comedic chaos at the cookie factory.

Detective Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. The Ciphered Testament: A billionaire tech mogul is found dead, leaving behind a will written entirely in code. The protagonist, a detective known for her skills in cryptography, is hired to decode the message. Amid numerous threats and obstacles, she must uncover the secrets hidden in the code to reveal the rightful heir. The detective must crack the cipher to unlock the billionaire’s final wishes.

  2. The Shadow of the Past: A series of seemingly unconnected murders all bear a peculiar signature: a small trinket from a case the detective solved early in his career. Faced with a criminal who knows his past, the detective must reevaluate his old cases to catch the serial killer. The detective is caught in a deadly game with a killer who intimately knows his past.

  3. The Labyrinth of Lies: A controversial journalist known for exposing high-profile corruption cases is murdered. The case quickly becomes a maze of misinformation, false leads, and dead ends. The protagonist, a seasoned detective with a penchant for finding the truth, must sift through the lies to serve justice. The detective must navigate a complex web of deception to solve the murder.

  4. The Vanishing Artist: A famous street artist who remained anonymous despite her popularity suddenly stops producing work. Simultaneously, a series of art thefts from local galleries starts, with each stolen piece replaced by a forgery. An art-loving detective must find the link between the artist’s disappearance and the thefts. The connection between the missing artist and the art thefts lies at the heart of the mystery.

  5. The Silent Witness: An unsolved case of a school teacher’s murder is reopened when the detective receives an anonymous letter stating that a serial killer is still at large. The only witness to the murder, a mute child who has since grown up, becomes his only lead. The detective must find a way to communicate with the witness and unmask the real killer. The detective’s main challenge is to communicate with a mute witness to solve a cold murder case.

  6. The Unseen Threat: An enigmatic hacker threatens to unleash a virus that would cripple the city’s infrastructure. An unconventional detective with a knack for technology is assigned the task of tracing the hacker before the threat becomes a reality. The detective is racing against time to locate an unseen enemy in the digital world.

  7. Beneath the Surface: When the detective’s mentor is arrested for a crime he claims he didn’t commit, the detective is torn between loyalty and duty. He embarks on an off-the-record investigation that uncovers deep-seated corruption within the force. The detective must fight corruption within his own ranks to clear his mentor’s name.

  8. The Sound of Silence: A world-renowned orchestra conductor collapses and dies during a performance, and it’s quickly determined to be a case of poison. With hundreds of attendees and no obvious motive, the detective must follow the trail of clues hidden within the symphony of suspects. The detective has to unravel a murder mystery set in the backdrop of a grand symphony performance.

Holiday Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. A Haunted Holiday: A family renting an old manor for Christmas begins to experience strange occurrences, with presents being moved, decorations rearranged, and carols playing at odd hours. A family member with a knack for solving puzzles decides to investigate, leading to uncovering the manor’s history and its previous occupants. The family member must solve the mystery behind the manor’s peculiar Christmas occurrences.

  2. The Thanksgiving Theft: A small town’s century-old Thanksgiving tradition – a grand feast in the town square – is disrupted when the main course, a turkey specially bred for the occasion, is stolen. A retired detective living in the town takes up the case, leading him on a trail filled with hilarious suspects and peculiar clues. The retired detective must find the missing turkey to save the town’s Thanksgiving tradition.

  3. Easter Enigma: An annual Easter egg hunt ends abruptly when instead of chocolates and candies, the eggs contain cryptic notes. The event organizer, an amateur sleuth, must follow the clues from the notes to uncover a plot that threatens the town. The organizer must decipher the cryptic notes found in the Easter eggs to prevent a potential disaster.

  4. New Year’s Nightmare: A New Year’s Eve party aboard a luxury yacht goes awry when the owner, a high-profile businessman, is found dead just as the clock strikes midnight. A vacationing detective on board must unravel the mystery among a sea of revelers and potential suspects. The detective must solve the murder mystery amidst the New Year’s festivities.

  5. Halloween Homicide: On Halloween, a famous horror novelist is found dead in a scene eerily reminiscent of his most famous book’s climax. A rookie detective and fan of the novelist’s work must separate the theatrics from the evidence to uncover the murderer. The detective must differentiate between Halloween theatrics and real clues to solve the novelist’s murder.

  6. Valentine’s Vendetta: A famed relationship counselor known for her Valentine’s Day matchmaking event is poisoned during the event. The detective, one of the attendees, must navigate through a tangle of broken hearts and jilted lovers to find the killer. Navigating through the maze of love and heartbreak, the detective must find the counselor’s killer.

  7. The Mardi Gras Masquerade: Amidst the lively Mardi Gras celebrations, the priceless crown worn by the festival’s king goes missing. An off-duty detective attending the festivities must unravel the mystery, with everyone being potential suspects behind their colorful masks. The detective must solve the mystery of the missing crown amidst the Mardi Gras masquerade.

  8. The Hanukkah Heist: The menorah intended for the city’s grand Hanukkah celebration is stolen right before the event. A detective, also a member of the local community, takes it upon herself to recover the menorah and save the celebration, leading to uncovering deep-seated rivalries and unexpected alliances. The detective must recover the stolen menorah in time for the Hanukkah celebration.

Legal Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. The Invisible Verdict: A prominent human rights lawyer is assigned a case where an entire jury went missing after delivering a controversial verdict. Amidst conspiracies and threats, he must investigate the truth behind their disappearance and uncover a deeper, darker plot. The lawyer must find out what happened to the missing jury.

  2. Echoes of the Past: A seasoned public defender gets the shock of her life when a new case seems eerily similar to a case she lost early in her career. As she defends her new client, she uncovers unsettling connections to her past and must confront old demons to win. The public defender must navigate the uncanny similarities between her past and present cases.

  3. The Unspoken Contract: A corporate lawyer is drawn into a web of deceit and betrayal when a seemingly routine contract reveals a hidden agreement threatening to bankrupt her client’s company. She must use her legal expertise and investigative skills to expose the conspiracy. The lawyer must expose the hidden agenda buried within the legal contract.

  4. The Will to Truth: When a wealthy businessman’s will is contested by an unknown individual claiming to be an illegitimate heir, an estate attorney must untangle a complex web of secrets and lies to determine the rightful heir. The attorney has to unravel the complicated family secrets to determine the rightful heir.

  5. The Insider Witness: A defense attorney representing a high-profile client in an insider trading case discovers a whistleblower within the corporation. Now she must protect the whistleblower while using the information to defend her client without exposing the informant. The attorney must balance defending her client and protecting the anonymous whistleblower.

  6. Under Oath: A young prosecutor is tasked with his first murder trial, with the defendant being a highly respected judge. As he digs deeper into the case, he realizes the legal system he once admired might be harboring grave corruption. The prosecutor must grapple with the corruption within the system he is part of.

  7. The Family Feud: A family lawyer gets embroiled in a bitter divorce case involving her old friends. As she tries to mediate, she uncovers a slew of illicit activities and backstabbing that threatens not just the divorce proceedings but her personal relationships as well. The lawyer must navigate professional duty and personal ties in a high-stakes divorce case.

  8. The Environmental Enigma: An environmental lawyer takes on a big corporation accused of dumping toxic waste into local water bodies. However, as she builds her case, she discovers connections to a larger conspiracy involving influential figures and government officials. The lawyer must take on powerful entities to expose a major environmental crime.

Romance Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. The Love Letter Puzzle: A young woman discovers a trove of unsent love letters hidden in the attic of her old family home, written by a mystery person to an unknown lover. Intrigued, she starts unraveling the story behind these letters, only to realize they might hold the key to her own romantic future. The young woman has to unravel the story behind the hidden love letters.

  2. The Valentine Heist: During a high-profile Valentine’s Day charity event, a renowned jewel goes missing. The chief security officer, who also happens to be the event organizer’s estranged lover, must solve the mystery while navigating their unresolved feelings. The security officer must solve the jewel theft while dealing with unresolved romantic tension.

  3. The Forgotten Proposal: A man wakes up from a coma with no memory of his past, except for a vivid dream of proposing to a woman he doesn’t recognize. As he pieces together his past, he stumbles upon a forgotten love story and a mystery that he must solve to reclaim his life. The man must piece together his forgotten past to find his lost love.

  4. The Heart’s Enigma: A woman starts receiving cryptic notes and gifts from an anonymous admirer. Intrigued, she sets out to discover the identity of her secret admirer, finding herself entwined in a romantic mystery that spans back to her past. The woman is on a quest to uncover the identity of her mysterious admirer.

  5. The Romance of Rue: In a quaint French village, an American writer falls in love with a mysterious local who seems to be hiding a secret. As their romance unfolds, so does the secret, leading to a mystery that the writer must solve to save their relationship. The writer must unravel his lover’s secret to protect their burgeoning romance.

  6. The Lover’s Alibi: A detective is called to solve a murder case where the main suspect is his ex-lover. As he delves deeper into the investigation, old feelings resurface, and he must separate his personal feelings from his professional duty to uncover the truth. The detective must separate personal feelings and professional duty in solving a murder case involving his ex-lover.

  7. The Wedding Planner’s Enigma: A seasoned wedding planner gets the biggest case of her career – planning the wedding of her ex-fiancé. As she navigates her unresolved feelings and the wedding preparations, she stumbles upon a mystery involving her ex that could change everything. The wedding planner must solve a mystery involving her ex-fiancé while planning his wedding.

  8. The Secret Admirer: After a heartbreak, a romance novelist takes a break at a remote cabin. Here, she starts receiving love letters from a ‘secret admirer’. She sets out to find the sender, which leads her on a path of healing, self-discovery, and a potential new romance. The novelist must find the sender of the love letters leading to a journey of self-discovery and romance.

Cozy Mystery Writing Prompts

  1. The Case of the Missing Pie: In a small town renowned for its annual pie contest, the much-anticipated winning pie disappears just before the judges’ final verdict. The local baker, known for her keen observational skills and intuition, sets out to solve the mystery. The baker must find the missing pie and uncover who sabotaged the contest.

  2. The Puzzling Potluck: During a community potluck in a seaside village, the much-loved local librarian falls ill from an apparent case of food poisoning. A retired nurse with a knack for investigation decides to find the source of the illness, unearthing secrets among her neighbors along the way. The retired nurse must determine the cause of the sudden illness at the potluck.

  3. The Mysterious Book Club: At a monthly book club meeting, a member suddenly collapses and dies. It turns out she was poisoned. The bookstore owner, a former detective, decides to investigate this strange event and uncovers long-hidden secrets within the book club. The bookstore owner must unravel the mystery of the death within her book club.

  4. The Secret Garden Affair: A peaceful gardening community is turned upside down when the prized roses of the annual flower show are sabotaged. The local florist, with a green thumb and a keen eye for detail, decides to dig up the truth. The florist must uncover the saboteur within the gardening community.

  5. The Knitting Knot: A revered knitting circle finds itself in a twist when the most expensive yarn goes missing. The group’s charismatic leader takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery, uncovering the intricate patterns of friendship and rivalry within the circle. The leader of the knitting circle must solve the mystery of the missing yarn.

  6. The Antique Enigma: When a priceless antique goes missing from a local museum during a town festival, a history professor and amateur sleuth decides to solve the case. As he peels back the layers of the mystery, he learns more about his town’s history and its residents than he bargained for. The history professor must uncover the mystery of the missing antique.

  7. The Recipe Riddle: An old recipe book is discovered in the attic of a family-owned bakery, promising recipes of extraordinary delights. However, one recipe is encrypted. The bakery owner, aided by her tech-savvy granddaughter, must solve the culinary cipher that could revitalize their business. The bakery owner and her granddaughter must decipher the hidden recipe to save their bakery.

  8. The Vanishing Violin: The prized violin of a local music school disappears right before the annual concert. The school’s director, a former police officer, must solve the mystery to save the performance, uncovering a symphony of secrets within the school community. The school director must find the missing violin and unravel the secrets within the school.