45 Amazing Mystery Short Story Ideas

mystery short story

If you’re the type that loves your feet sweaty and some anticipation here and there, then these mystery short story ideas are for you.

Perhaps you’re a huge fan of mystery short stories, maybe that’s why you’re reading this. Maybe you’ve read some of the best mystery short story books and have this belief that you can create something better or more better than what you read.

Can you think of how satisfying it’ll be to have readers gushing on what you wrote, asking you for a second series, or follow up?

Well, no need to ask further questions, all you need are some of the mystery prompts given below to spur you with the ideas to write that bestselling thriller you’ve always wanted. Find out below mystery short story ideas

Read also, Writing Prompts: 50 Creative Writing Prompts Ideas to Try Out

45 Mystery Short Story ideas

  1. A well-known motivational speaker is about to give a speech when she takes a drink from a freshwater bottle and collapses. Her assistant is nowhere to be found.
  2. A local officer’s school disappears; you need to do something about it.
  3. A few minutes after you buy off an older phone from an online store, you get a phone from someone who’s stalking you now.
  4. The series of well-executed robberies strike across the globe in less than a twenty-four-hour period. Due to the distance of each of these crimes, they would have been considered unrelated if not because in each robbery, the stolen items were priceless related pieces of art.
  5. A series of banks are robbed. However, something is pretty odd; none of the cash is taken. Instead, only the select safe deposit boxes are disturbed and emptied. When law enforcement looked into these boxes, each was opened by a false identity.
  6. Anyone who enters a tall commercial building never comes back out. The town believes this is a supernatural phenomenon, but you think otherwise.
  7. The state of humanity’s health is dwindling at a remarkable rate. You are on the top official government’s list, and you know pretty well that the government has the tools to make humanity less sick and live longer. Still, the world order needs to be put in place. What do you have to do? Should you refuse to be subdued by the government or be thrown charges by selfish goons?
  8. A bank is robbed in seconds. This is strange; could it be an in-duty operation?
  9. The Vatican City national bank is robbed. None of the goals or cash is taken, only a series of ancient scrolls.
  10. When the world’s largest biggest religious organizations sign a historic treaty to admit each other’s existence and store their greatest historical artifacts together in a world vault for preservation, there’s a heist, and all artifacts are taken at once.
  11. An ordinary man’s genes cure all the world’s diseases, and the government is trying to get his hands on him, but he seems to slip from the government’s hands every time. Why does the government want him so much? And you’re not pretty sure if the government only has a hand in this; there may be more behind.
  12. A female forensic detective is pretty shocked when she inspects a recent victim’s mutilated body. This is no random victim’s disabled body. This is no random victim, but her ex. He had become the first boyfriend in her life to be murdered; she needed to join the dots together and solve the mystery.
  13. A local beauty queen wins the local beauty pageant, but her body turns up dead. She’s not the first; there has been a trail of beauty queen murders in the locality. It would help if you solved this.
  14. A man who slept and woke up discovers that his mom, dad, and two siblings had been murdered. The police investigate the matter and make the man believe it was he who’d committed all of the murder. The man accepts because he argued with his parents the previous evening before he slept. But there’s more to the murder scene, and your character is bound to find it out.
  15. Write a story about someone who keeps coming across the same stranger.
  16. Write a story about four strange people who fell to their death at the tip of a tall building.
  17. There’s a trap door in your new home that’s got a lot of hidden secrets.
  18. A woman asks a writer to write the story of her life. Then finds out how mysterious she is.
  19. In the middle of the wilderness, someone finds an abandoned bunker with many security cameras powered by a generator.
  20. Clues to the mystery come to your character in a dream, but no one seems to believe him.
  21. The murders all relate to a common fear, and that’s speaking against the government.
  22. Three known journalists died mysteriously before an election.
  23. He claims to be the son of a business mogul who was supposed to have died ten years ago.
  24. The report of a celebrity’s death is false, but she dies the day after under mysterious circumstances.
  25. A building collapsed; your character needs to investigate this. In doing so, your character believes the landlord and the government officials have something they aren’t telling.
  26. A writer writes a book, and everything she wrote about her character comes into existence in her life.
  27. The book she’s reading seems to be telling the story of her own life, though she believes she’s never met the author.
  28. A woman goes shopping while coming back she’s murdered. The first suspect is her husband, who found her first. But there are more suspects.
  29. Someone tries to set a teacher up. But why?
  30. A young television actor is hailed as one of the best of his time. While reporters call him ‘method’ for only interviewing in character, it’s because he doesn’t have an identity outside of his famous characters, three of whom he switches between due to dissociative identity disorder.
  31. Your character has worked hard to build her successful company, and she so loves her work. But when a competing company steals all her clients, she needs to fight back in strange ways to keep her business alive.
  32. After his concussion, your character finds he has no control over recurring and vivid dreams of his accident. However, while awake, he can project images in his mind into the room, ad change the world around him. Too bad the doctors think it is all in his head and continuously sedate him. can he fight the power of a medically induced coma?
  33. The mysterious bank deposit happened overnight and changed your character’s life forever.
  34. One freezing winter morning, the quiet stranger arrived, never speaking a word. She just pointed back to the forest, which held a cave that had a whole lot of mystery…
  35. All the clocks in town had changed. This everyone could see. But what did it even mean?
  36. The winner of the beauty pageant is the last person everyone expected. Then she wins the lottery jackpot ad wakes up with a dead guy in her closet.
  37. A tablet is found inside a sealed Incan Tomb.
  38. You are travelling when you are informed by an airport official that your passport isn’t valid, and the country you claim to be from doesn’t exist.
  39. You check into a seedy hotel and discover halfway through the night that it is made up entirely of thirteenth floors missing from other hotels.
  40. You’re beginning to have believed that the person writing the daily crossword puzzle in your newspaper is trying to send an encoded message.
  41. A marriage counselor arranges a scavenger hunt for the struggling couple based on their history. Someone changes the clues, though, and one of them ends up dead.
  42. A corpse turns up in an idyllic small town.
  43. A police detective gets the call of all calls one night. When he arrives at the murder scene, he finds his ex-wife dead, with forensic evidence pointing to himself.
  44. A famous national park trail becomes the site of hundred unknown graves.
  45. A woman walks into a small-town police station reporting that her husband has gone missing. The odd thing is, both she and her husband were reported lost ten years ago to the day. Stranger still, their bodies had been found three months later.

Read also, Plot of a Story – The 6 Elements of a Plot Explained

Conclusion

Coming up with great ideas for a mystery short story is a common struggle for most of us, especially in the fiction writing genre. That’s where writing prompts are chipped in. With the list of story starter’s given above to ignite a novel or short story idea, I’m sure you’ll be on your way to making a bestseller.

Why do I need your prompt when I can make mine?

Prompts help writers to develop the main character, find a setting or location in which a given story takes place, or come up with a central problem that a character would have to solve—and that’s the answer you get!

So, I’ll be saying good luck here, and do not fail to drop your comments.

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About the Author: Neville Goddard

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