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Mystery Magnet

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"Most people can go their whole lives without getting involved with a murder. Monk is lucky if he can go outside and get his morning paper off his stoop without tripping over a dead body."
Natalie Teeger, Mr Monk Goes To Hawaii

A Mystery Magnet attracts mysteries, usually murders, with the occasional case of kidnapping, extortion and fraud for variety. Wherever they go, people drop dead at their feet, often with a cryptic dying message. This behaviour isn't planned by anyone — there is no killer stalking the magnet, nor is the magnet responsible for the deaths — it's just pure coincidence.

Of course, this is all arranged by the show's creators so that the magnet always has something interesting to do.

If the Mystery Magnet stays in one spot, such as a little town called Cabot Cove, Maine, long enough, enough corpses will soon accumulate that one would expect people to wonder why exactly their quiet-sleepy-little-town is so unlucky. If this happened in real life the police would suspect the magnet of being a serial killer and would question them frequently; in fiction there may be some Lampshade Hanging about the unlikelihood of it all, but it seldom goes beyond that.

The Mystery Magnet will generally become an Amateur Sleuth in self defence. If not, they'll be a sidekick of the police detective who solves all the cases they stumble into. Some are cases of little old ladies investigating. Others are Kid Detectives. Not all amateur sleuths are mystery magnets, however. Some amateurs, and most professionals, deliberately go to the crime scene and investigate. With mystery magnets, it's the exact reverse; the crime scene comes to them, by seeming chance.

Sometimes an entire ensemble can be a Mystery Magnet. When professional detectives are on Busman's Holiday, they can often temporarily become mystery magnets, but this trope is only for those who are like that all the time.

Very often these are Murder Mystery Magnets, making the implications even more worrisome. And Jessica Fletcher is the worst offender, which is the reason she is our page image here.

This only covers cases where there is an actual mystery (i.e crime mystery), with a mundane solution. If there is weirdness involved, or no detective work is required to identify the criminals, the character is some other type of Plot Magnet.

See also Mystery Fiction and Detective Fiction.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Shinichi Kudo from Case Closed. Poor kid can't go anywhere without a murder happening.
    • Occasionally lampshaded, at least in the Manga. The police inspector, Megure, upon realizing that Detective Mori just happened to be near when the crime occurred, has a tendency to raise his eyebrow and vocalize his incredulity. Sadly, he never seems to follow up on this. In fact, he later lampshades the Lampshade Hanging.
      Megure: I should just let it drop. It's becoming silly.
    • The kid also can't seem to visit a mansion without getting trapped there with a psycho on the loose. And if he ever meets a group of people for the first time, chances are at least one of them is gonna die.
    • By extension, the same goes for his elementary school friends. One has to wonder why their parents still let them hang out with Conan with the amount of times they have been abducted or involved in murders.
    • Heiji to some extend as well. But most notably, there is a strange tendency of murder cases involving his mother's friends. Heiji himself has attracted a trend of monster-related murder cases.
    • Sakurako Yonehara is a minor recurring character and housekeeper, whose employers keep dying whenever she appears. Megure also noticed that.
  • The Kindaichi Case Files. While Kindachi is occasionally recruited by the police to look into cases, it seems that the guy can't even go on a field trip without stumbling across some intricate plot to avenge the slight/death of a crazed person's loved one. Amusingly enough, when he does get suspected of committing a murder in "Kindaichi the Killer," the police suspect that he also was the real killer in all those cases he previously solved and that his clever deductions were there to cover up his guilt.
  • Subverted in Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. The titular demon has the ability to sense criminal intent as it forms (and how much nourishment it will provide him), so he is the one actively seeking mysteries out rather than them happening to him.

    Comic Books 
  • Jennifer Mays and Gabe Webb from The Maze Agency. Granted, Jennifer is a private investigator and a number of the mysteries they deal with are cases she has been hired to investigate. But, even so, it seems they cannot go on vacation, attend a party, or (in the most extreme case) witness an execution without stumbling across a murder.
    • Lampshaded by Lieutenant Bliss in a special when she's called to her third murder scene involving Jen and Gabe in a single day:
    "Are you two going for a marathon or something? You ought to be locked up as carriers!"
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe. Mickey Mouse in the Mickey Mouse Mystery Magazine comics, an Italy gritty detective story that starts with Mickey getting into trouble with the law as a result of them mixing his involvement in solving a ton of cases in Mouseton with actually being involved in perpetrating them.
  • Harry Vanderspeigle, protagonist of the sci-fi/mystery comic Resident Alien, is one. Somewhat justified in that he seeks out mysteries since he likes to solve them.
  • Robin: Tim can't catch a break in his civilian life with his schools ending up playing host to Man-bat, kidnappings, car-jackings, and shootings and when he tries to go on vacation his hotel ends up attacked by ninjas after a fellow guest.
  • Inverted and Played for Laughs in Tales Designed to Thrizzle, where Jessica Fletcher sees the postman suddenly die and tumble off his bike through her living room window, and already begins wildly speculating whom he clashed with and how it could have happened. The postman then gets up and dusts himself off, causing Jessica to realize she jumped the gun, at which point she declares that she's solved another case.

  • Played With vigorously in the Case Closed (see above) fanfic It's Raining Men Hallelujah.
    • It is a real thing that when Heiji's around, there is a tendency toward the bodies falling. This fic proceeds to Flanderize the hell out of this.
    "You know what, the way it's going... Let's not get buried in the same cemetery."
    "Breakin' my heart, Kudo."
    "We'd be liable to end up as ground zero for the Moon landing. On Earth."


By Author

  • 19th century writer Arthur Machen gave us Mr. Dyson, an amateur Occult Detective. In most of the Dyson stories, he either stumbled upon crimes as they happened or gained important clues solely because he unintentionally happened to be in the right place at the right time. The only exception to this rule was The Shining Pyramid where he became involved in a case after the fact.
  • Charles Paris, struggling actor and amateur detective, in the novels by Simon Brett. According to his agent "When Charles's name appears on a cast list, insurance goes through the roof and actors start making funeral arrangements."

By Title

  • Accidental Detectives: As the title suggests, the characters get unwittingly sucked into a mystery every time they go on a trip out of town, and sometimes even without leaving town.
  • Agaton Sax: The titular Agaton Sax happens upon criminal conspiracies by accident a lot in the earlier books in the series. The later books tend to provide more reasonable explanations, like Scotland Yard seeking out Agaton Sax for help, or criminals going after him for the way he keeps foiling their plans.
  • McBeen, county coroner from Joan Hess's Arly Hanks series, has accused police chief Arly of attracting weirdness to the town. She snarkily replies that it must be all those classified ads she places in newspapers, inviting murderers to come practice their hobby in town.
  • Bernie Rhodenbarr: The titular character can't go anywhere or steal anything without stumbling across a murder. Sometimes this is justified by Bernie trying to steal the MacGuffin other characters are killing each other over. Other times, there's no reason at all.
  • The Boxcar Children: The titular group trip over mysteries on all of the vacations that they take during their apparently endless summer vacation.
  • Lampshaded heavily in Sharan Newman's Catherine Le Vendeur series; she frequently complains that she can't go anywhere without a dead body falling on her. Often literally, which is a Running Gag.
  • The Cat Who... Series: James Qwilleren encounters murders and other various crimes with alarming frequency, even as the newspaper he works for often sends him out to do innocuous fluff pieces on things like a food expo, art exhibits, and the like. Lampshaded when one of the characters comments that he cannot remember any dead bodies before Qwilleran came to town.
  • The Diamond Brothers always get involve into some mystery either by accident or by choice.
  • Brought up a few times in the Discworld series — every time Vimes goes somewhere, a crime is committed. Sybil is especially exasperated with this tendency in Snuff. Of course, as his boss is The Chessmaster, it's entirely possible that Vetinari knew something was about to go down and somehow nudged Vimes into being there when it happened. The trope is also played with a little; Vimes might find a crime wherever he goes, but when he's somewhere else, less crime is being committed in Ankh-Morpork because of how frightened everyone is of what will happen when Vimes gets back. So he's a Mystery Magnet that actually takes the mysteries with him...
  • Ellery Queen. This even gets lampshaded in the novella "Mum is the Word" when the chief of police comments that Ellery can't visit Wrightsville without a major crime taking place.
  • Fun Jungle: Teddy ends up in the middle of eight mysteries and counting in just a couple of years. At first, it's not as much him as the animal park setting that keeps attracting greed and chaos, but Teddy's vacations to a dinosaur dig elsewhere in the county, Montana, and California have also involved mysterious thefts and other crimes.
  • In Gosick, Kujo seems to have quickly earned an in-story reputation for being cursed given how often he ends up being a witness to a murder in a short space of time.
  • Invoked Trope with Haruhi Suzumiya. The main character is a Reality Warper who unconsciously causes fictional plots to happen. Koizumi warns Kyon that if Haruhi were to want to be a detective, people would start dying around her. Koizumi solves this problem by faking a murder.
  • Heather Wells, titular character of the The Heather Wells Mysteries by author Meg Cabot, is a constant magnet for death and crime as an assistant residence hall director in what becomes colloquially known as "Death Dorm."
  • Hercule Poirot ironically lampshades the improbability: "Never, never does it occur that someone says confidentially: 'Well, as a matter of fact, I've actually known five murderers'!". This refers to a villain who deliberately provokes other people into committing murders. Poirot has known far more than that.
    • Lampshaded in a Two Ronnies sketch where it turned out that Poirot was, in fact, committing all the murders and blaming them on other people using fabricated evidence.
    • In the first chapter of Three Act Tragedy some of the characters actually discuss the trope. They remark that one man may travel all over the world and experience absolutely nothing bizarre, while another may live in a London suburb and yet find himself caught up in all sorts of intrigues: "In the same way, men like your Hercule Poirot don't have to look for crime; it comes to them."
    • Exaggerated in "The Labours Of Hercules", where not only does a crime occur in the vicinity of wherever he is, it's a crime that just so happens to fit the theme of his Self-Imposed Challenge. Twelve times.
  • Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness Series, Lady Georgiana, whether she's invited to a party or doing a favor for The Queen, "Georgie" will end up entangled in mystery, usually with a Dead Body or two.
  • Fisk and Michael from the Knight and Rogue Series are subject to this, though while Michael is usually excited to have a chance to do good Fisk usually wants to have as little association with the mysteries as possible.
  • Pointed out by Joan Coggin in her Lady Lupin mysteries.
There must be something queer about me, like those people in Greek tragedies. The minute I arrive upon the scene everyone cries, "Let's have a murder."
  • Lord Peter Wimsey thinks this has happened to him at one point in Gaudy Night. He is rowing down the river with the female lead, Harriet Vane, when noxious smells bubble up out of the water. "Honestly, Harriet, it's indecent, the way corpses follow me about!" Fortunately, it happens to be just a local spot of water pollution.
  • Miss Marple. For an old lady who lived in a relatively small town, a lot of people seemed to be murdered near her. Hell, even when she went on vacation someone was murdered.
Miss Marple: I hope you never realize just how wicked small villages can be.
  • Monk illustrates the trope very well with the TV episodes. But the Tie-In Novel series manages to crank it up. It seems that Adrian Monk and Natalie Teeger just can't leave San Francisco without running into dead bodies.
    • Mr Monk Goes To Hawaii: Monk and Natalie go to Hawaii. Natalie is going to be maid of honor at her friend's wedding, and Monk chooses to go by Becoming the Mask with the medication Dioxynl because he doesn't want to be alone (although Natalie suspects Dr. Kroger put Monk up to it to avoid having to deal with him). When they get there, Monk first ruins Natalie's friend's wedding by exposing the groom as a bigamist. Then, while Monk and Natalie are walking, they stumble on an elderly woman who apparently was struck by a coconut while in a hot tub, but which Monk immediately declares is a murder. So, rather than have any chance at vacation, Monk and Natalie get drawn into lots more mysteries - the murder itself, a body turning up during a luau that turns out to be connected to the first murder, a rash of strange burglaries, getting one car stolen, and another car wrecked in a hit-and-run. And then there's TV medium Dylan Swift, who seems rather interested in Monk and Natalie and also has unusual interest into the murder. Lampshaded though, in one conversation Monk and Natalie have with Lt. Ben Kealoha after they get their car wrecked:
      Lt. Ben Kealoha: When are you heading back to Frisco?
      Natalie Teeger: Tuesday. Why?
      Lt. Ben Kealoha: I'm trying to decide whether to bring in some off-duty officers and rejigger the work schedule. Since you two arrived on Kauai, the crime rate has skyrocketed.
      Natalie Teeger: Maybe you should lock us up.
      Lt. Ben Kealoha: The thought has occurred to me. [He grinned and drove off]
    • Mr Monk Goes To Germany: Monk and Natalie stumble on a killing at a Lohr duplex while in Lohr to see Dr. Kroger. Monk determines that the dead body is just one of two victims, as the real victim is the owner of the duplex next door, whose body is missing. Then while Natalie is out walking in the woods, she comes upon the missing neighbor's body.
    • Mr Monk Is Miserable is a big-timer. First, a passenger is killed on the flight Monk and Natalie take to Paris, causing Natalie to tell her boss grumpily that she can't bring him anywhere. Once in Paris, they visit the catacombs (strange place to go), where the walls are lined with the bones of people condemned on the guillotine long ago. Monk finds a fresher skeleton and concludes it was dumped more recently. Naturally, Natalie is annoyed. But then, when Monk and Natalie go out to dinner at a blind restaurant (where you sit in total darkness), a woman sits down with them who says, "I know what you found". Monk senses someone approaching them due to his heightened awareness (a Call-Back to the episode "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing"). There is a noise, and Monk tells Natalie that the woman in question has just been murdered. Natalie is naturally pissed, thinking Monk can't get the skeleton case off his back, until one of the waitresses trips, prompting the house lights to be brought up, revealing that the woman sitting at their table has been stabbed and killed with Monk's steak knife and the attacker has fled.
    • In Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop, Natalie lampshades this trope, remarking that, if Murder, She Wrote was true to life, then the small town of Cabot Cove, Maine has a higher murder rate per capita than South Central Los Angeles, Ciudad Juarez, and Beirut, combined.
    • In the novel Mr Monk On Patrol, after Monk and Natalie are nearly incinerated in their sleep by an arsonist who torches their hotel room with a Molotov cocktail, Summit police officer Walter Woodlake tells Randy, "Chief, I thought these two were supposed to drive crime down, not up."
  • Both Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys were frequently lamenting that they never got to have normal vacations.
  • Most of the time Nero Wolfe winds up getting involved with a murder it's because someone came to Wolfe and offered to pay him a large sum of money to deal with some personal problem. A fair number of those cases even involve Wolfe getting hired to solve a murder, or investigate a suspicious death. But it is remarkable how many times Wolfe is invited to a gathering of the world's greatest chefs or travels all the way to upstate New York for an exhibition of orchids and someone decides to commit murder, and with a Great Detective already right there. It's no wonder Wolfe dislikes leaving his house.
  • Sam Holt: Sam is an actor who sued to play a detective and becomes involved in four murder mysteries over the course of about a year.
  • Sam Jones, sculptor turned reluctant sleuth from Lauren Henderson's murder mystery books. In one book she is encountered by her policeman lover, stumbling home at 6 in the afternoon blind drunk, and it takes him mere moments to realise someone must be dead to start her drinking so early in the day. Her response?
    Sam Jones: I am the bastard lovechild of Mulder and Schkully and I'm going to pass out now.
  • A stranger example than others, each Sammy Keyes mystery usually takes place within a month.
  • In Ship of Fools, a Doctor Who tie-in, there is a sweet little old lady who goes around solving the murders that happen all around her. It turns out she's actually a telepath subconsciously sending out "kill people in elaborate ways" signals to everyone around her, accidentally causing the very murders she solves.
  • The eponymous sisters in the Southern Sisters Mysteries. This is lampshaded several times by policewoman Bo Mitchell, who maintains that they're the only people she knows with such a strong knack for stumbling over dead bodies.
  • Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mysteries: After Lila Macapagal returns to her hometown of Shady Palms, she happens to be around for almost everything bad that happens. Her close circle is always tied closely to the mystery of the book.
    • Arsenic And Adobo: Lila watches her ex get poisoned in her aunt's restaurant, and she's a major suspect in the case. Her former classmate agrees to meet her to give her some intel but is beaten comatose. The restaurant gets trashed. After the ex's funeral, his stepfather is found dead in his home. Detective Park asks why Lila is always around when something bad happens.
    • Homicide And Halo-Halo: Lila is jogging with a friend when they find the pageant's head judge dead in a river. Her god-cousin is a major suspect in the case.
    • Blackmail And Bibingka: After Tita Rosie's estranged son returns, someone attempts to blackmail her. Lila meets the investors of her cousin's new business, only for one of them to die and the cousin's crew to be suspected.
  • The Trixie Belden mystery series. She stumbles across mysterious happenings wherever she goes and always solves the case.
  • Wallander: Inspector Kurt Wallander in the novels of Swedish writer Henning Mankell lives in the small town of Ystad (population 17,286). The murders just keep happening...

    Live-Action TV 
  • For a sci-fi example, Doctor Who spends most of his time travelling around the space-time continuum more or less at random, but wherever he goes, he ends up entangled in a mystery, an alien plot, or more frequently a mystery involving an alien plot. The place where people have noticed this more than anywhere else is England, mainly because it's the one place where he is likely to show up on multiple occasions in a single person's lifetime.
  • Lamented by one of the five in the The Comic Strip Presents episode "Five Go Mad in Dorset". This greatly upsets one of the others, who lives for their adventures.
  • An episode of Cybill has the title character playing the corpse on a Hart to Hart TV movie with the detective questioning them.
    Jonathan: Surely, you don't suspect us?
    Detective: How can I not suspect you? Everywhere you go, people get murdered!
  • Due South. Despite being a cop show, almost every episode has the heroes just stumbling onto a crime to solve in their civilian lives.
  • Elementary: In "Ancient History", Sherlock reveals that he has a standing bet with one of the local coroners, to spot any homicide victims that the coroner classified as natural deaths. To Watson and the coroner's chagrin, he usually succeeds.
  • House is different from other medical dramas in this respect because most of the cases brought before the titular character are medical mysteries which appear to be unsolvable. And, yes, 90% of them are located in one section of New Jersey. Of course, sometimes a mysterious case will be brought to House precisely because of his reputation for solving mysteries, but for the most part it falls squarely into this trope.
  • Discussed in Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story when Banzo mentions that at certain types outside of work murders will happen around either himself, Fujii or Tenkaichi. The moment Banzo and Tenkaichi realise Fujii has taken time off to visit a hot springs, they rush over to her knowing somebody was going to die — the one woman Fujii had been talking to while she was there.
  • Matlock: Matlock is a defense attorney specializing in murder cases, so most of the time its natural the murderer will contact him. However, sometimes it seems Matlock can't go anywhere without stumbling over a corpse . . . independent of his practice of law.
    • Virtually any time Matlock goes on vacation. Matlock goes to his home town to attend a family reunion? Matlock ends up defending an accused murderer in court. Matlock goes on vacation at a seaside resort? Matlock ends up defending an accused murderer in court. This actually happens twice.
    • Another time, Matlock attends a wedding. He witnesses a murder from his hotel room window. Because of his obvious conflict-of-interest, Leanne represents the accused murderer.
    • Matlock gives a talks to a group of undergraduates in a law club. One of them is murdered immediately thereafter.
    • Matlock conducts his church choir. A member of the choir is murdered, another is wrongly accused.
  • Justified by her visions being the cause, but also hilariously Discussed in an early episode "SOS" of Medium as Allison's daughters argue about their mother's tendency to find new cases the manual way- the older Ariel (finding the idea disturbing) insists it's just part of her job with the police, the younger Bridget noticing a distinct trend.
    "I hope you're right, because when I grow up and have kids, I don't want to have to explain to them why their grandma has so many dead bodies around all the time."
  • DCI Barnaby of Midsomer Murders. Seriously, that relatively small English county must be swiftly running out of citizens by now. In most episodes the actual Mystery Magnet is Barnaby's wife. One gets the impression that the reason Tom is never enthusiastic about Joyce picking up a new hobby is that he knows he'll be looking at a corpse within five minutes screentime and half her social circle will be dead soon after.
    • All indications are that Tom retiring put an end to his and his wife's status as mystery magnets (they certainly haven't been involved in any cases after that that we've heard about). The bad news is, it turns out it's DCI Barnaby and friends and family who are the mystery magnets, regardless of who exactly that DCI Barnaby is, so when Tom is replaced with his younger cousin John Barnaby...
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: The titular lady detective runs across so many suspicious deaths that she's often at the crime scene before the police. Occasionally lampshaded:
    Hugh: Miss Fisher's gone on holiday, sir.
    Jack: Anyone dead yet?
    Hugh: [Beat] Only one so far, sir.
  • Monk has taken over Murder, She Wrote recently for the fact that Monk clearly is a walking Grim Reaper.
    • In "Mr. Monk Gets Cabin Fever," Natalie starts to become convinced that Monk is bad luck, but by the end of the episode she's convinced that Monk doesn't cause the murders, he's cosmically drawn to where they occur so he can solve them.
      • Just to emphasise; the reason why Monk was in that cabin in the first place was because he was in Witness Protection for witnessing a completely unrelated homicide completely by chance. So basically, it's homicide ception.
    • Lampshaded in "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring" when Monk notices that the skeleton of a caveman on display at a museum is determined to have been a victim of homicide. Yes, no corpse that Monk has come across has died of a natural death (with a few rare exceptions). Even if they've been dead for 30,000 years.
    • "Mr. Monk Goes to a Rock Concert": Monk and Natalie go to a rock concert (Monk accidentally having mistaken Captain Stottlemeyer's use of the phrase "rock show" for "geology museum") to help Captain Stottlemeyer search for his son Jared, who has ditched school. So Monk, looking for a payphone when he decides he wants out, accidentally walks into a port-a-potty. As he exits, Natalie finds him, and as they are walking away, they find the dead body of a roadie named Greg "Stork" Murray. Monk and Natalie are subsequently roped by Stork's girlfriend Kendra Frank into investigating the murder instead of looking for Jared, though Natalie seems perfectly okay with this.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the UFO", Monk and Natalie break down in some Nevada town in the desert. They see a UFO, and when search parties arrive looking for the UFO landing site, they find the dead body of a hiker. Turns out that the hiker's killer built a model UFO so that a search party would come find the dead body because coyotes had rendered it beyond recognition.
    • "Mr. Monk Bumps His Head" - Monk accidentally gets knocked out and wakes up in a little Wyoming town with amnesia. A waitress at the diner he stops at to get some food then goes missing. He begins to suspect that it's murder.
  • Murder, She Wrote is by far the worst offender of this trope. To such an extent that one suspects that if Jessica hadn't traveled so much, Cabot Cove's population would have been about eight. There is no better explanation for the sheer number of murders the lead character encounters throughout the long run of the series than her involvement in all of them. Indeed, if Cabot Cove alone existed in real life and suffered that many murders, it would top the FBI's national crime statistics by several orders of magnitude, in fact, 78 times that of the most murderous real city. note 
    • Some years, more people were murdered on the show than were actually murdered in the entire state of Maine in the same period.
    • Lampshaded in one episode when another character tells Jessica, "If murder were a disease, you'd be contagious."
    • Lampshaded again by Sheriff Metzger, a former New York cop, who after a year as the sheriff of Cabot Cove, asks Jessica, "Just what the hell's wrong with this town?"
    • Lampshaded again in an episode where Jessica is called as a witness in a Canadian murder trial. The defending counsel (played by Patrick McGoohan) attempts to undermine her credibility as a witness by highlighting the alarming frequency with which Jessica and her relatives are embroiled in murder cases, eventually suggesting outright that the entire Fletcher clan is comprised of homicidal maniacs.
    • MAD Magazine parodies it with "Murder, She Hopes," in which Jessica is overjoyed every time she learns that a new murder has taken place.
    • The Late Late Show parodied this in a series of sketches from 2008-2010, with Craig Ferguson (in drag) portraying Jessica as extremely eager to stumble upon murders and solve them, even if it takes killing the person herself to make the crime happen, and not with any serious attempt to cover her tracks. Jessica shouting "HAS THERE BEEN A MURDER?" multiple times was to be expected, whether there as a murder or not, and whether it was plainly obvious to everyone else or not.
    • The grim implications of this are illustrated in the article, "Suspected Serial Killer ‘Jessica Fletcher’ Arrested at East Cork Home", which implies that she's killed at least 265 people, which ought to label her a terrorist, and certifiably leave her in a straitjacket for the rest of her natural life.
  • Psych occasionally tries to avert this. In the commentary track for the episode "Lights, Camera, Homocidio", the show runner states they threw out an idea for the original reveal of the murder because it was "too coincidental, even for us."
    • A subversion: it is shown many times that Shawn and Gus stumbling upon a police crime scene while out for ice cream is due to Shawn actively chasing down homicide investigations to worm his way into, in Season One episode showing him with a police scanner and using the ice cream run to get Gus to come along.
  • Laura Thyme and Rosemary Boxer on Rosemary & Thyme. Murders follow those two gardeners everywhere, no matter where they are. It's a wonder that they keep getting hired.
  • Ernst Stockinger, on the Inspector Rex spin-off Stockinger. Often lampshaded by his boss Dr Brunner, who laments how ever since Stockinger was assigned to the region there's been an influx of bizarre crimes.
  • In the The X-Files episode "Blood", the sheriff of a small Pennsylvania town remarks on the sudden, inexplicable rise in homicides:
    In the last six months, seven people have killed twenty-two. Per capita, that's higher than the combined homicide rate of Detroit, D.C., and Los Angeles. This town is not any of those places. In Franklin, you'll never have to pull off the road to make way for a celebrity driving with a gun to his head.

    Video Games 
  • Jake and Jennifer Eagle, the protagonists of the Eagle Eye Mysteries series, seem to be this. It's noted during the second game's Justified Tutorial.
    Jake/Jennifer: It looks like mysteries just seem to pop up wherever we go!
  • Madison, from Heavy Rain. Not only did she run into a serial killer taxidermist even before the game starts (via DLC), during the actual plot she runs into a guy who's after another serial killer (ironically the one she was looking for in the DLC). In the course of investigating that, she gets captured by still another serial killer, almost gets raped by a psychotic nightclub owner too, and trapped in a burning building by the real killer. Then, in one of the endings, yet another serial killer threatens her during a book signing, saying he's a true Worthy Opponent for her. Poor girl can't catch a break. No wonder she has nightmares.
  • Not only has Nancy Drew been a Teen Detective Mystery Magnet for decades, but the PC game-series Lampshades that fact in the denoument of The Final Scene, where a tabloid newspaper article ponders the odds that her endless cases are just a coincidence. Luckily for River Heights' population-figures, most of them aren't murders.
  • Lampshaded in Persona 4: Arena. Yosuke thinks that he's going to have to start calling Yu "the mystery maker", since trouble seems to follow every time Yu shows up in Inaba. Weather this was really a coincidence or not is up for debate.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix (or Apollo) is sometimes approached out of the blue with a defense request, but a lot of the time, he ends up at the crime scene before the crime is even committed. The second game is especially bad about this - the first case begins with Phoenix already having agreed to defend someone, but the second has him going up to a remote location in the mountains where someone is killed, (which turns out to be somewhat justified because the murder was intended to target his friend Maya), the third has him go to the circus the day before the ringmaster is killed, and in the final case, he attends an event at a hotel and a guest is murdered.
    • Lampshaded by Gumshoe in the third game, where he says he's starting to wonder if Phoenix is directly responsible for everything he gets caught up in. Edgeworth notes to himself that Gumshoe is involved just as often.
    • This is the case in Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, because the game doesn't use court cases, instead simply letting Edgeworth investigate the scene and interview people. Poor guy can't even go on vacation without someone getting killed on the plane. There is one trial, but it's only a backdrop and Edgeworth doesn't even get to prosecute.
    • Wendy Oldbag is a self-proclaimed version of this. Proudly so. In case 2-4, she describes herself as a "devilish woman" saying that wherever she goes, blood starts pouring down and corpses appear. Phoenix kindly suggests that she should stop working as a bodyguard, at least for the sake of everyone else, only for the old bat to reply in her usual way ("Whippersnapper!").
  • Parody Sue Erika Furudo from Umineko: When They Cry tells Battler at one point that whenever she goes on a trip murders just happen to occur around her wherever she goes.

    Western Animation