I'm looking for books, essays and articles on plotting mystery/detective/investigation stories (and novels). The type of story I'm aiming for is in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, or Asimov's Robots/Elijah Baley novels.
It seems to me that plotting out mysteries is a very distinct, specialized form of plotting, with its own tools and guidelines. Building intriguing logical puzzles; extrapolating an intriguing solution from an intriguing conundrum or vice versa; laying out clues; discovering the clues and drawing conclusions from them; choosing suspects and methods and motivations; storytelling within very narrow scope, but revising it entirely with every new discovery - I can speak about these intuitively, but they seem unique and important enough that there should be a fair amount of existing discussion and advice. I haven't been able to find much.
So I'm looking for any resources you can point me to discussing the plotting, the design, of the mystery itself. I'm not looking for general writing advice specialized for the mystery genre (although a resource that has both is obviously fine). If there exist any lexicon/taxonomy-type articles, of the sort that try to identify common tropes and concepts, those would be very welcome.
Books on Amazon that looked promising included William Tapply's The Elements of Mystery Fiction and Carolyn Wheat's How To Write Killer Fiction; recommendations for/against these and other books, in regards to the particular subjects I'm looking for, would be appreciated as well.
In May, I posted a bounty with the following guidelines. A week after the bounty deadline expired, I got a great answer from Taryn East, so it's only fair I award her her due - the current bounty's all hers.
- Persuasive recommendation for a resource (print or online) that extensively discusses the construction of a mystery plot.
- Resources in which a mystery author details how they constructed a particular plot - provided the plot is reasonably good.
- Recommendation for resources with advice that apply specifically to writing mysteries, which I'll define as: advice which probably would not be immediately useful to somebody writing something other than a mystery.