The Best Murder Mystery Story Ideas to Inspire You! (2024)

murder mystery story ideas

Looking for enticing murder mystery story ideas? You’ve come to the right place!

Read on for ideas like a murder in a virtual reality world in which one of the possible culprits is an AI, or a murder up in the air in a packed flight of a musician’s entourage, and many more!

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Murder Mystery Story Ideas and Writing Prompts

So, you want to write a murder mystery? Let’s dive in for some intriguing ideas!

I hope the ideas below are original although, undoubtedly, something similar could have existed out there already. But the smallest details and execution matter, and make all the difference!

Please note that the genders in these prompts and story ideas are just placeholders. It is not the intention to enforce any hurtful stereotypes or offend anyone.

Story ideas

Here are some ideas using three random components as inspirations:

  1. A reality show, a few feuding reality TV stars, and a dead body. 

    The audience wanted entertainment, the stars wanted their five-minute of fame, and the producers wanted drama. But when an actual dead body turned up, who did it and why?

    murder mystery story ideas

  2. A quiet suburban, an innocent accident, and a horrible cover-up.

    Based on poisoned Halloween candy urban legend. Some parents had caused the accidental death of their child and attempted to pin the murder on the idea that a malevolent stranger is roaming the streets, giving out poisoned candies to the children in the area. (This idea originally appeared on my post Bone-Chilling Urban Legend Story Ideas and Writing Prompts.)

  3. A comic book convention, a bunch of nerdy teens, and a crime scene.

    Has an irreverential fan went overboard and annoyed a stressed out author? Or is it a rivalry between two authors that has escalated to the point of no return? Has a delusional fan taken matters into their own hands when their favorite author disappoints them? You decide.

  4. A strange crime, a muddy motive, and an unlikely suspect.

    A police detective investigating a crime begins to suspect that the perpetrator is himself. When all the signs say that the next victim would be someone close to him, he must do all he could to stop the crime before it happens. (This idea originally appeared on my post Psychological Thriller Story Ideas and Writing Prompts.)

  5. A locked room, an unusual setting, and a strong alibi.

    When an astronaut turns up dead, suspicion naturally falls to a fellow astronaut. However, the fellow astronaut had the perfect alibi and a strong evidence to back them up. How did they really do it?

  6. A quaint little inn, an aging actress turned innkeeper, and a busy weekend.

    In her sunset years, an aging actress takes joy in managing a charming little inn. But the excitement of a full-booked weekend takes a bleak turn when one of her guests ends up dead. (This idea originally appeared in my post Riveting Family Drama Story Ideas.)

  7. A packed flight and a murder high up in the air.

    Is it a chartered plane booked by an artist and their entourage? Is it a commercial plane in which some of the passengers know each other before?

  8. A picturesque little town on a cove, a nun, and a wedding party.

    When a gruesome murder disrupts an intimate wedding rehearsal, an unassuming nun steps up to unravel the dark secret hidden within the tranquil wall of the church. (This idea originally appeared on Cozy Mystery Story Ideas and Writing Prompts.)

  9. A stellar cast, a highly acclaimed group performance, and a crime worthy of the stage.

    A murder happens in a theater during a theater performance. Is the victim a theater critic, an audience member, an understudy, or the prima donna? Is the culprit the spotlight-seeking director, the salty stage assistant, a delusional fan, or a fellow actor/actress?

  10. A high school setting, a morally corrupt victim, and the unlikely culprit.

    A school principal whose inappropriate conducts goes unpunished for years, meets their demise when the students as well as some faculty members decide that enough is enough. (This idea originally appeared on Vigilante Story Ideas and Writing Prompts.)

  11. A high security prison, hundreds of suspects, and a murder in cold blood.

    A prisoner is murdered in a high-security prison. Who did it? One of the guards, another prisoners, the inmate’s own mental health counselor, or a visitor who was visiting the deceased hours before they met their demise?


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Murder mystery picture writing prompts

A picture speaks a thousand words, so let these pictures inspire you! Please click on each picture to learn more about it.

1. A murder at a wedding: When the groom-to-be is murdered on his wedding day, it’s up to the bride-to-be to solve the crime or risk becoming the next victim. Set in the Victorian or Georgian era.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

3. A murder in a virtual reality world: What happens when a group of strangers gather together in a virtual reality world and a murder happens? To complicate the matters, one of the possible culprits is an AI.

(Please click on the image for more information about it.)

The Definition of Murder Mystery

Now, let’s delve deeper into the genre.

Murder mystery is a genre of fiction, film, and theater that revolves around a murder investigation, usually involving a detective or amateur sleuth trying to solve the crime.

The genre often features elements of suspense, intrigue, and puzzle-solving, and the story often unfolds through the eyes of the detective as they gather evidence, interview suspects, and attempt to piece together the events leading up to the murder.

The ultimate goal of a murder mystery is to determine who committed the crime, and why.

What makes a good murder mystery story

A good murder mystery story typically has several key elements. The central event in a murder mystery story is, of course, a murder, and it should be intriguing and challenging enough to keep readers engaged. Make sure to build a sense of tension and anticipation to keep the reader on the edge of their seat.

When it comes to the characters, craft them well. A murder mystery story is often propelled by a cast of interesting and well-developed characters, including suspects, witnesses, and investigators, all of whom have complex motives of their own that color the events surrounding the case. Your protagonist, which is typically the detective, should be smart, resourceful, and relatable, someone the reader can root for and learn from.

Finally, the resolution of a murder mystery should be surprising and satisfying, wrapping up loose ends and offering a satisfying conclusion to the story’s central puzzle. A good murder mystery should also be well-researched with a focus on accuracy and attention to detail.

How do you write a murder mystery story

Writing a murder mystery story involves several key steps:

1. Plan your story: Before you start writing, take some time to plan out the elements of your story. Think about the crime, the characters involved, the setting, and the general mood you want to convey.

2. Develop your characters: Characters are the backbone of a murder mystery, so it’s important to create well-rounded and interesting characters. Think about the motivations, backgrounds, and personalities of your suspects, witnesses, and investigators.

3. Establish the setting: The setting of a murder mystery can greatly influence the mood and atmosphere of the story. Consider the time period, location, and social and cultural context of the story.

4. Plot the murder: Come up with a murder that is interesting, complex, and full of twists and turns. Make sure to consider the motivations of the murderer and any possible suspects.

5. Write the story: With your planning complete, it’s time to start writing your story. Start by introducing the crime, the characters, and the setting, and then move on to the investigation and the various twists and turns of the plot.

6. Build suspense: A key element of a murder mystery is suspense, so be sure to keep your reader engaged by building tension, planting clues, and creating red herrings.

7. Write the resolution: The resolution of a murder mystery should be surprising and satisfying, wrapping up loose ends and providing a conclusion to the story’s central puzzle.

8. Revise and edit: Finally, revise and edit your story carefully, paying attention to pacing, dialogue, and character development. Seek feedback from others to get a fresh perspective on your story.

Remember, the key to a successful murder mystery is a well-planned and well-executed story, with interesting characters, a complex crime, and a satisfying conclusion.


That’s all I have for now! If you need more story ideas and prompts, please browse our Story Ideas & Writing Prompts Category!

Have any question or feedback? Feel free to contact me here. Until next time!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

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