I just had to share this with you because it’s the most insightful, pithy statement I’ve ever read about the mystery novel.
Mary Roberts Rinehart said: “The mystery story is two stories in one: the story of what happened and the story of what appeared to happen.”
Isn’t that great? That really describes how a successful author writes a story that keeps the reader guessing.
Books and Characters, Real and Imagined
One could conceivably apply that thought process to people, real and imagined. The person, as seen by the world, is one individual, but the reality of the person may be, and usually is, quite different from the perception. Guess what? This statement applies to any genre, not just the mystery.
Perception versus Reality. That can be viewed as a three word definition of narrative conflict.