Sunday, February 7, 2016

Murder Most Foul

First off, you'll note that I've changed a few things here. I think it took me ten minutes to figure out how to change the header picture--or where to go to do it. This picture is looking down the tracks in DeKalb. The curious building in distance is a coal shoot. I think I've heard that kids would play inside it. I would have been one of those kids, my curiosity so that I should have been a murder mystery writer at the beginning.

But I digress...

The print here is different too. Let me know if you hate, love, or are indifferent to it. I happen to like it and probably won't be changing it.

Now for today's post: "Murder Most Foul..."

Author J.B. Fletcher as played by Angela Lansbury
I revert to J.B. Fletcher a lot. Even though the way in which the TV show was formulated, you don't necessarily want your book to be done that way--with the murderer confessing at the end, or Jessica just happens to walk in on the murder victim. Or my personal favorite when she trips up the murderer, gets them to say something that nails them as the murderer and nearly gets shot before the police detective bursts in at the very last second.

I began my mystery "Murder on the Mississippi" last summer (I believe), and after a few chapters I had to stop and figure things out. I'm not a mystery writer. I have never attempted such in my life. Sure, I place some sort of mystery in my books, but that sort of keeps the reader involved. Writing a murder mystery takes a lot more thought, background and figuring out who is the murderer, and if it actually throws everyone off, is another matter entirely.

I think I changed my murderer about 3 times. Once I decided everyone would guess so-n-so did it, that put me back to square one. It's not easy, let me tell you, trying to decide on who murdered the victim and making it not look quite so obvious. All the red herrings can be obvious, of course. I may even make at least one of them act guilty as hell. Two will have personal relationships with the victim, and one was seen publicly arguing vehemently before her murder.

If only J.B. really existed, I could ask her how she decides. I could talk with her. She looks easy going. In fact she was very nice to budding authors (back in the day) in a number of her shows. I wish I could read her book "The Corpse Dance At Midnight". Sounds like a real riveting story. I have read the murder mysteries which are "based" on the TV show, but believe me, they aren't. Sort of ruins it when the author changes that Dr. Hazlett is married, and that Jessica flies an airplane-which she never did in her shows.

But I digress.

After writing for 40+ years, and pretty much mastering (I use the term lightly), my vampire works, I guess I felt it was time to try something different, and challenge myself. Nothing like trying to walk on water, or fly without benefit of wings. But boredom overwhelmed me last year. I took a portion of the year off. Needed it. You need to recharge energies that were depleted during the upsurge of energy you had in your youth, especially when you thought you had life by the neck. In which case I didn't, so there was some depression going on.

At this point in life I'm just going for whatever life hands me. Hoping that this year is a little better, where sales are concerned. Since handing over the fifth book in my Sabrina Strong series, I'm thinking there's a chance I could make better money. And I'm taking my social security as soon as I can. My birthday isn't until August 27th, so that's a long wait, but we've got plans I should be able to take the summer off. I hate driving the bus in the summer. I hate driving the bus PERIOD!

Again, I digress. Where were we?

The choice of murderer.

Yes, in most murder mysteries, it's usually the very last person you expected. And that becomes a problem when the reader understands this rule as well. Confounding them is your job as a writer, but you also have to throw in little clues along the way, try not to make them too glaring or obvious, just shoot something out there, and your characters don't react to any of it. They act like everything is normal, or that there's a clear explanation why someone's hat is out in the middle of the woods, on the trail to the murder site.

My one biggest clue is (among others, like the hat), is the shoe. Or rather the foot print which the shoe leaves behind in the mud.

These are Doc Martins. I've been sitting on something I scribbled on a note card from a book I'd read way last year: Chukka boots. I didn't know what those were, and only yesterday looked it up. Apparently they're any sort of boot. Dr. Martins also can look like any sort of boot, but I chose this one as it simply caught my eye.

And the character/murderer, who wears them isn't about to chuck them because they got blood all over them. These cost over $100, and the murderer doesn't want to buy new. My murderer makes a lot of mistakes. I came away from one of the MSW shows in which Jessica said, "It's the little things that will slip you up." Yes. The little things. Although not getting rid of the boots is a big thing, but if no one suspects you, and you hide them in your closet for a while, who will know? Right?

This is where my young lady, Lainey, comes into the fray, and slowly begins to unravel the clues because she doesn't believe any of the people the sheriff has arrested is the murderer. Even the one who is obvious. Why? Well, I'm working on that.

Hope you have a good week! Talk later.


  1. It's so often the small things that trip up a murderer.

    For her part, Mrs. Fletcher is, in my opinion, the world's most prolific serial killer.

  2. Yes, I know your stance on this. But the burden of proof is yours. Thanks for stopping in, William.

  3. I see William still thinks she's a serial killer.

    I started getting my Social Security a few months ago. Figured I'd take it while it still exists!

  4. Yes, Norma, William has a special problem with that.
    And no kidding!


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