Murder and Mayhem. What’s your pleasure?
If you write mysteries then you’ve killed a few people (on the page). When I plan a book I know before I begin writing who died and how, and who did it. I can picture the scene of the death – where it happened, the time of day, really all of the details. Then I think of how. Was it a knife, a gun, poison? Is there a convenient cliff nearby? Did the victim die before they fell off? On the surface it sounds gruesome, but ‘the death’ is the inciting event in a book and sets the tone for everything that comes after. Would a sweet grandmother strangle a man with her hands to protect her grandchildren? Unless she had a career as a professional wrestler and had kept up her weightlifting routine, probably not. Same with suffocation. So bring out the kitchen knife! On the other hand, she probably knows how to wield the sharp-tipped vacuum cleaner attachment she’s had for 40 years and could quickly slip it in the dishwasher to eliminate trace evidence. Or perhaps she hauls her grandfather’s commemorative Army sword off the wall above the mantle? On the other hand, wouldn’t the sword point directly to her? On the other other hand, she could explain away her fingerprints since she’s legitimately handled it before. The method has to fit the crime and the criminal (read Roger Johns’ debut novel, Dark River Rising. He has a great murder with a twist, one that sums up the mind-set of the killer. Not a person you’d want to get on the wrong side of! But more about that tomorrow when Roger joins us to talk about his book.) For now, does anyone have a method for murder that they found particularly inventive or interesting?