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Unravelling the Mystery II

In my previous blog, I wrote about a seminar I was scheduled to present on “How to write a murder mystery.” Unfortunately, the conference where I was scheduled to present the seminar has been postponed. I am sorry for talking about an event that will now not happen. (There is no word yet on when the conference might be rescheduled.) However, I thought that some parts of that blog might still be of interest, particularly some comments on how I began writing murder mysteries in the first place…

When we got married over 30 years ago, my wife and I developed the habit of reading together, especially just before bed. She said she liked the sound of my voice—it put her to sleep. We read a variety of books, but she liked murder mystery novels and got me intro reading mysteries. I hadn’t read many before that. Over the years, we read most of the classics—Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers, Ross MacDonald, Ellery Queen. Having read most of the classics, we moved on to some lesser known writers—and discovered that sometimes there were good reasons they were lesser known.

I read a book review once that said, “This book should not be put down lightly. It should be thrown, with force.” It may be heresy for a writer to say this, but some books are not worth reading—at least, for some people. One night, Jackie and I had just started reading a new mystery novel. We had gotten two or three pages into it when I literally threw the book across the room and said, “This is terrible! I could write a better mystery than that!” And my wife, wonderfully helpful person that she is, said, “Why don’t you?”

 And so I did.


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