Difference Between Mystery & Suspense

Mystery vs Suspense

The primary distinction between mystery and suspense lies in the fact that mystery puzzles and confuses the reader, while suspense intrigues them. Both mystery and suspense are literary devices employed by writers to enhance their stories’ appeal. Suspense generates uncertainty in the reader about future events, whereas mystery involves aspects that leave questions for the reader. This article will examine the differences between these two concepts.

What is Suspense?

Suspense, as mentioned earlier, can be considered a device that creates intrigue. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word suspense as “excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.” This can be observed not only in novels but also in movies and television series. Suspense occurs when the individual possesses some information about what might happen but is unsure of its accuracy. For example, in a storyline, there is a masked man. You do not know who is behind the mask for certain, although the author has provided hints as to who it could be. As the plot progresses, the reader becomes more curious.

What is Mystery?

Mystery, on the other hand, can be defined as something that remains unexplained. For a situation to be mysterious in a story or even in real life, people must be perplexed about how the event transpired. This can even relate to the supernatural. In a case of a mystery, the individual lacks evidence and cannot find a logical explanation for the event’s occurrence.

Take, for example, the many mysterious stories of Sherlock Holmes. There is a definite puzzle that needs to be unraveled, such as in the case of the Hound of the Baskerville. The author, Arthur Conan Doyle, crafted the story in such a way that the reader cannot find a logical explanation for the mystery until the story’s conclusion. This is because the necessary evidence and the required factual basis for the mystery to be unraveled are provided step by step. This technique allows the author to maintain the reader’s interest, making mystery an excellent literary device.

This discussion underscores the clear differences between mystery and suspense.

Key Takeaways

  • Mystery can be defined as something that remains unexplained, while suspense is defined as excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.
  • Mystery leads to puzzlement in the reader, whereas suspense intrigues them.
  • In mystery, the individual lacks a logical explanation, while in suspense, the individual possesses some facts, even if they are uncertain.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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