I once wrote a ghost story short film for a friend to direct, which he affectionately dubbed “Grown-up Scooby Doo”. This phrase recently returned to my consciousness when attempting to describe some of my supernatural thriller novels.
For example, The Birds Began to Sing definitely falls into this category, because whilst it is emphatically for grown-ups, many of the Scooby Doo conventions are contained therein.
For a start, The Birds Began to Sing features a central (possibly) ghostly mystery, and a plucky protagonist determined to get to the bottom of it. Solving said mystery involves a great deal of suspenseful creeping around shadowy corridors. This activity in any spooky setting, whether gothic mansion (as in The Birds Began to Sing) or even a modern London office building (as in my as yet unreleased novel The Irresistible Summons) is an essential component of Grown-up Scooby Doo (as opposed to “Adult Scooby Doo” which has altogether different connotations).
Other conventions of Grown-up Scooby Doo include the obligatory unmasking of the villain. Although the villains of The Birds Began to Sing and The Irresistible Summons are not literally unmasked, their position as villains are essentially unconfirmed until late in the narrative, much like any whodunit, but more importantly, much like Scooby Doo.
My soon to be released novel The Thistlewood Curse might be a detective story/supernatural thriller/horror hybrid, but again it unquestionably falls within the purview of Grown-up Scooby Doo, a term which I feel really now ought to be an official subgenre. Describing a novel as “Grown-up Scooby Doo” informs the reader that whilst the novels may contain more disturbing or serious elements, the mechanics at least will be puzzling, gripping and fun.