Trope Workshop:Non-Criminal Twist

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When a Mystery story is about investigating criminal conduct, the investigation nearly always returns some kind of criminal conduct. A suicide scene might have been altered into a murder implicating a rival, or find a Revealing Coverup, but some criminal activity ultimately occurred. On rare occasion however, an investigation may reveal the investigator's attention was never warranted at all.

Non-criminal investigations such as non-criminal misdeeds or (in series where the supernatural is an established fact) a "monster" that's a Scooby-Doo Hoax also count.

Supertrope of averting Never Suicide. Contrast Always Murder.

As a trope about twists, spoilers are unmarked.

Examples of Non-Criminal Twist include:


  • Used in a few Sherlock Holmes stories included The Man With the Twisted Lip, The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor, The Adventure of the Yellow Face, and The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter. <!==Taken from Always Murder. Some of these may belong in never suicide.==>

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Tabletop Games

  • The Living Death RPGA campaign typically had the player characters, members of the Society of the White Rose, called to investigate and put an end to supernatural occurrences caused by the exiled Dark Power known as the Red Death. Lady's Song features an investigation into a "sea monster" that's just a cover up for an experimental American submarine accidentally sinking a supposed civilian ship the Spanish are actually using to transport arms. The module encourages player characters to avoid revealing the sub or military nature of the sunken ship and just report the mundane nature of events to the Society, as international espionage isn't their job, but allows revealing either or both secrets as valid outcomes (though the sheer percentage of the campaign that takes place in the United States effectively retires an American character that reveals it).

Other Media