This collection establishes new perspectives on the idea of mystery, as it is enacted and encoded in the genre of detective fiction. Essays reclaim detective fiction as an object of critical inquiry, examining the ways it shapes issues of social destabilization, moral ambiguity, reader complicity, intertextuality, and metafiction. Breaking new ground by moving beyond the critical preoccupation with classification of historical types and generic determinants, contributors examine the effect of mystery on literary forms and on readers, who experience the provocative, complex process of coming to grips with the unknown and the unknowable. This volume opens up discussion on publically acclaimed, modern works of mystery and on classic pieces, addressing a variety of forms including novels, plays, graphic novels, television series, films, and ipad games. Re-examining the interpretive potential of a genre that seems easily defined yet has endless permutations, the book closely analyzes the cultural function of mystery, the way it intervenes in social and political problems, as well as the literary properties that give the genre its particular shape. The volume treats various texts as meaningful subjects for critical analysis and sheds new light on the interpretive potential for a genre that creates as much ambiguity as it does clarity. Scholars of mystery and detective fiction, crime fiction, genre studies, and cultural studies will find this volume invaluable.