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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

On Writing a Murder Mystery

Writing a mystery is difficult. Writing a murder mystery is doubly difficult.

A mystery must contain clues that logically lead to the ending, but that do not give it away too quickly. I had to go over my novel, The Man Without a Past, at least a dozen times, forward and backward, again and again. And when I had finished, the characters started yelling at me that I had pinned the murder on the wrong suspect, so I had to start all over and pin it on the right suspect.

Since it's a murder mystery, I had to kill off one of the characters. That, for me, is even more difficult than salting the tale with clues. I love all of my characters, even the bad guys. But somebody had to die, and then I had to identify the murderer.

The result is a tale of intrigue with twists and turns leading to a surprise ending.

Lavinia Stout never would have taken the job, if she had known that it involved murder. Even worse, it involved travel, so she had to board her beloved cat Tuffy at the veterinarian's office while she went to Denver, Colorado, to investigate. She hated leaving her mountain home, even for her daily commute to work.

She had a little storefront in San Bernardino, California, where she gave phony psychic readings. Lavinia kept her private investigator's license current so she could help clients who suspected their spouses of cheating on them, and so she could do just enough research on her clients to make her psychic readings seem genuine.

When an old flame visited her one October morning, her first instinct was to turn down the job. But since it was merely a background check on some of his employees, she thought that it would be easy. She could hand it off to her partner and bring in a little cash. She should have turned him down flat.

Just click on the banner in the right-hand column to visit my Amazon store, where you can buy The Man Without a Past and some other great books!

~~ Tessa B. Dick

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Read the Novel that Lost the Contest

My murder mystery, The Man Without a Past, didn't even get past the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. In that round, all they read was the pitch. I guess that I'm not very good at writing a pitch. In round two, they would have read the first chapter, and then my novel might have had a good chance of getting to round three. Oh, well, it's over and done with.

If Lavinia Stout had known that a simple background check on some employees of a mining company would lead to murder, she would have turned the job down flat. Her former flame, Mark Bell, had a lot of nerve asking her for any favors, but she thought that she could hand off the task to her assistant and make a few bucks. She couldn't have been more wrong.

I can't enter it for the Philip K. Dick Award because it isn't science fiction.

So now you can buy this novel at Amazon. Everybody loves a mystery, right?

If you search Amazon for "tessa dick", this novel will probably be at the top of page two of the search results, but it might be at the bottom of page one. For some reason, Amazon keeps listing some of Phil's books on the first page of search results for my name. Go figure.

It's a good book, as good as any that I ever have written.