11 Things You Should Never Say to a Mystery Addict

You might know mystery is the best genre of all time, but the truth is, not everyone will understand your obsession. Maybe it’s because they haven’t spent enough time with the books themselves, or maybe they just have terrible taste—whatever the case, there are just some people who don’t get it.

If you are one of those people, let me tell you something: there are certain things you should never say to a mystery addict.

Take it from me, mystery lovers take their obsession seriously, and we have a lot of opinions about it. We’ve read Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and all the classics, but we’re always looking for new writers to fall in love with.

When we get hooked on a series, we follow it from the first book to the last, and the more sequels, the better. If one of our favorite books is being adapted into a movie, we’re first in line on opening night.  We’re forever loyal to our favorite sleuths, forever suspicious of the most mysterious villains, and forever thrilled to find new mysteries to obsess over.

I told you, mystery addicts are serious fans, and because of that, we can be a little sensitive when people start to question it. If you aren’t with us, you’re against us, and you should know these 11 things you should never say to a mystery addict.

Trust me, it’s for your own good.

1) “Don’t you want to just Google the ending?”

Thank you for reminding us of the greatest temptress of them all, the internet. Of course we want to Google the ending, but we are serious mystery lovers here, and we’re committed to finding out the good old fashioned way: by reading it all the way through, searching for clues within the text, and being shocked with a twist in the last chapter anyways.

But now that you mention it, the answer is only a click away…

2) “Aren’t all mysteries the same?”

Is this a serious question?

That’s like asking if all basketball games are the same. They might follow the same rules and operate within the same parameters—and even this isn’t necessarily true all the time—but what happens from start to finish is completely different, every time. Mysteries, like all other genre books, have similarities, but they’re each unique and wonderful reading experiences, so stop trying to tell us they’re all the same.

3) “I’ve read that! Can you believe that [INSERT SPOILER HERE]?”

There’s a special circle in hell for people who ruin mysteries. When you see us reading a book you’ve already read, why are you automatically compelled to spoil the endings for us? If there’s one thing you should never say to a mystery addict, it’s a spoiler of any kind.

4) “Aren’t all mysteries depressing?”

Some people just don’t understand. While mysteries often deal with dark and violent topics—a missing person, a murder case, a family secret—they aren’t all depressing, despite what a lot of people may try and say to those of us who love the genre. We know that every dark cloud has a silver lining, even if that dark cloud is a cold-blooded killer.

5) “The movie was way better/scarier/more suspenseful than the book!”

If anyone says this to me, I hit the ground running…

The movie was better than the book? Ask any mystery reader—or any book reader at all—and they’ll tell you that the book is always, always, better than the movie, and don’t you dare try to say otherwise.

6) “Sorry, were you in the middle of something?

It happens on the commute to work, when you’re sneaking in a few pages on your lunch break, and when you’re at home curled up on the couch. Inevitably, someone will start blabbing in your ear and interrupting your precious reading time, almost always asking the most obvious question, “Were you in the middle of something?”

Great detective work, Sherlock! Was it the book in my hand that gave it away? Take it from me, if you’re thinking about asking a mystery lover a question, but you can see they have a book in their hand, let me give you some advice: don’t say a word until the book is firmly closed.

7) “There’s no way you guessed that ending.”

Listen, casual mystery reader—you might not have noticed that smoking gun in the fourth chapter of the book, but those of us who are serious mystery fans did.

And yes, we did guess the ending.

This isn’t our first rodeo, and by now, we’re pretty good at solving the mystery alongside, if not before, the actual detectives. How dare you question our sleuthing ability!

8) “Wouldn’t you rather read a real book?”

I’m sorry, is this book fake just because it isn’t an 800-page literary masterpiece? From its cover to its typed words to its plot, it certainly looks and feels like a real book. Take your snotty, narrow-minded view of what makes a book a book elsewhere, because we don’t need your judgement.

9) “You know that’s not really how the police work, right?”

You mean the things that happen in mystery books are… fiction? Listen, we know that police and detective work might not play out in real life the way it does in mystery books, but that doesn’t make the books bad books. 

Mystery writers spend a lot of their time researching the law and police procedure, so a lot of what they write is based in truth.

And the rest?

That’s what makes the story so interesting.  

10) “I hate mysteries.”

Let’s not be friends anymore, okay? Okay.

11) “You look tired, maybe you should go to bed.”

We will go to bed when we are ready to go to bed, and chances are, it’s after we’ve finished reading the epilogue. We know you mean well, but telling us to put the book down and go to bed is like telling a little kid not to jump on the couch—we’re going to do the complete opposite, so you can save your breath.


Sadie Trombetta is a freelance writer and proud bibliophile hiding out in the hills of Western Massachusetts. A terrible representation of her generation's prowess of all things technology, she's most likely found hiking up one mountain or another with at least four books in her backpack. Will work in exchange for plane tickets.


  1. Michelle Fidler

    I actually don’t mind spoilers. I usually peek at the ending. Cozy mysteries (I read a lot of them) usually aren’t depressing. I’m not too good at solving the mysteries. Just saw a review of a book I was reading where it said the murderer was somewhat obvious (not to me!). If I was an actress I’d like to play a detective. Although I love books I have to say that some movies are better than the book. There are lots of movies that I’d watch where I wouldn’t be interested in the book. I also agree that I hate to be interrupted when reading on the bus. One time it took a few minutes for someone to get the clue that I didn’t want to talk, just read. Re: # 8 and real books, the only thing close to that was when my teacher in high school saw me reading a Nancy Drew paperback before class started and said something like “Nancy Drew in my English class?”

  2. librarypops

    You go girl! #8 You quit too soon on this one, but there probably wasn’t enough space for a full answer. #10 Ask if they have actually read one. I meet people regularly who say “I hate (or just don’t like) [fill in the genre]”. When I ask what they have read it usually turns out they have not read anything in the genre and don’t know whether they like it or not. Unfortunately, they do not want to be confused with the facts, because they have already made up their mind.

  3. valerie zalewski

    Loved this digest of stupid comments. I’ve heard them all, but I’d NEVER give up the pleasure of reading a mystery.

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