Making notes for an article I’m writing about the importance of meeting readers’ expectations, I’m forced to acknowledge that, for a cosy mystery writer, I’m a reluctant murderer.
While I love devising an intriguing and imaginative plot that provides motive and opportunity for a multitude of suspects, when it comes to delivering the fatal blow, I have to force myself to, er, bite the bullet.
There have even been moments when I’ve regretted announcing in advance that all seven titles in my Sophie Sayers Village Mystery series would have “Murder” in the title – although when they’re all lined up together on the shelf, they will make an excellent matching set:
- Best Murder in Show
- Trick or Murder?
- Murder in the Manger
- Murder by the Book
- Springtime for Murder
- Murder Your Darlings
- School’s Out for Murder
I confess… a certain hesitation in bumping people off for the sake of entertainment. This may come as a relief to my family, friends and neighbours. But it’s hardly an ideal quality in a crime writer.
I’m guilty… not of murder, but of occasionally breaking the rules of what’s expected in a crime story.
I stand accused… of letting intended murder victims occasionally escape with their life at the last minute, or to have a murder turn out to be not what it first seems.
It’s a fair cop… But it’s all good fun, all the same.
Must Try Harder
But in my next book, Murder by the Book, I’ve pulled myself together and started the story in no uncertain terms: by chucking a stranger down the village well to a certain death.
But who is the victim? And who pushed the stranger, and why?
All will be revealed in April, when I’ll be launching Murder by the Book at the fourth Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival on Saturday 21st April.