Motives for Murder Mysteries

WHYMy favorite part of reading a mystery is learning the Big Why behind the murder and cover-up. The reasons can be creative and elaborate. However, the best murder mysteries are those which act as dark metaphors for real life events and experiences.

The construction of a murder mystery always starts with motive: why the murderer killed someone.

Here’s a list of ideas for motives:

  • Anger
  • Compulsion
  • Cover-Up & Hide Criminal Activity
  • Destruction of Evidence
  • Eliminating someone blocking a real estate deal
  • Framing another
  • Getting rid of a witness
  • Greed
  • Insanity
  • Jealousy
  • Love
  • Lust
  • Obsession
  • Power & Position
  • Prevent discovery of a crime
  • Profit
  • Protecting another
  • Revenge
  • Security, protect a position
  • Temporary Insanity
  • To keep a Secret
  • Thrill & Depraved Enjoyment

Want to read more? Check out:
Writing a Murder Mystery: Motives for Murder
Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Hiding Clues in a Murder Mystery
The Art of Planting Clues in a Murder Mystery


6 thoughts on “Motives for Murder Mysteries

  1. Ah. I was recently watching some old episodes from the Alfred Hitchcock Presents show, and many of the motives you mention here appeared in the show. It certainly makes for interesting programming and reading. Thanks for sharing.

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