Mystery subgenres are defined by plot, setting and protagonist. Some include:
• Cozies - Usually funny with little violence. Often set in a small community, the crime-solver is usually a bright, educated woman who is involved in a hobby or interest, such as cooking, art, a craft or sewing.
• Furry sleuths - Usually cats, sometimes a dog, as the principal investigator. The tone and setting of these books often overlap with cozies.
• Noir - Bleak, gritty and unforgiving. Cold, moody "Nordic noir" is a current trend.
• Inspirational - Wholesome mysteries underpinned by faith.
• Procedurals - Emphasize factual police operations and focus on detailed depictions of crime investigations and law enforcement groups rather than an individual.
• Adventure/thrillers - Action and plenty of harrowing close calls and narrow misses leap from the pages. In many thrillers, the villain is known and the challenge is stopping him.
• Spy novels - Thematically linked to thrillers, and revolve around espionage and politico-military themes.
• Forensic - Focus on state-of-the-art technology and anthropology. Such mysteries make for popular TV viewing: "Bones" and "CSI," for example.
• Suspense novels - Protagonist is the one being pursued, and psychological thrills often prevail.
• Private-eye mysteries - A professional investigator is usually the protagonist. The character often stands away from the action and has a strong code of honor or a unique process.
• Historical mysteries - Captures a sense of the past and gives an idea of what it was like to live in a different period of time.
• Mixed-genre mysteries - Blended with other genres, such as science fiction, romance or comedy.
Sources: Christine Burke, Clues Unlimited; Tucson Sisters in Crime
Some local book groups that meet regularly.
• The Clues Unlimited Book Club, the second Sunday of the month, 3146 E. Fort Lowell Road. cluesunlimited.com, 326-8533 Next: Jeri Westerson's "Veil of Lies: A Medieval Noir" at 1:30 next Sunday. Discussion with the author via Skype follows at 2 p.m.
• Antigone Books Mystery Book Club, 12:30 p.m. the fourth Sunday of the month, 411 N. Fourth Ave. antigonebooks.com, 792-3715. Next: "Dead Man's Grip" by Peter James, June 23. • Mostly Books Mystery Book Club, 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month, 6208 E. Speedway. mostlybooksaz.com, 571-0110. Next: "The Dark Vineyard: A Novel of the French Countryside" by Martin Walker, June 26. Pima Public Library
• Abbett Mystery Book Club, 2-3 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month, 7800 N. Schisler Drive. 594-5200. Next: "White Heat" by M.J. McGrath, Tuesday.
• Mission Mystery Book Club, noon-1 p.m. the second Monday of the month, 3770 S. Mission Road. 594-5325. Next: Darkness Visible by J.M. Gregson, June 10.
• Dewhirst-Catalina Mystery Book Club, 10:30 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month, 15631 N. Oracle Road, No. 199; 594-5240. Next: "Nowhere to Run" by C.J. Box, June 25.
• Sonoran Sleuths Mystery Book Club, 11 a.m.-noon the fourth Wednesday of the month, Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja Drive. 594-5580. Next: "Arizona Guy" by Raymond Spitzer, June 26.
• Arizona Mystery Writers, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. second Saturday of the month, El Parador Restaurant, 2744 E. Broadway. Next: Meets in September. Info: arizonamysterywriters.com
• Tucson Sisters in Crime, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. the third Saturday of the month, Viscount Suite Hotel, 4855 E. Broadway. Next: Deborah J. Ledford discusses "Creating Killer Characters" and Francisco J. Landin Jr. speaks on "Screenplay - From Book to Paper to Screen," June 15. Info: tucsonsistersincrime.org
Some local mystery authors
Southern Arizona mystery writers include:
• Jennifer Lee Carrell, "Interred With Their Bones" and "Haunt Me Still."
• Elizabeth Gunn, the Jake Hines and the Sarah Burke series.
• J.M. "Mike" Hayes, "Server Down" and "English Lessons."
• J.A. Jance, J.P. Beaumont, Joanna Brady and Ali Reynolds series.
• Susan Cummins Miller, Frankie MacFarlane series.
• Betsy Thornton, Chloe Newcomb series.