Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alcohol and Murder

I was doing some early research on the temperance movement and prohibition in the United States for a possible novel set amid the same conflict.

Still considering it. The time period is rife with change and conflict, the perfect backdrop for a murder.

But one recent statistic, tacked onto the end of a wikipedia article, jumped out at me:

In 2010, alcohol is a factor in over 23,000 motor vehicles deaths and over 50% of the murders in the country.

Those of us who write mysteries look for interesting cases--compelling motives, intriguing suspects. But the truth of the matter is that most murders, tragic though they be, are simple. Some fool got drunk and killed his wife, girlfriend, kid, landlord, cousin, fill in the blank.

Hmmm.... the temperate detective?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Watcha Callit?

Series arc maybe? I've been wondering what you would call a story line or subplot that extends over several books.

Whatever you call it, Victoria Thompson does a great job in her Gaslight series. Yes, each book is a stand alone mystery--complete with catching the villain. But there are other threads running through the series, compelling you to read just one more book. Who killed Sarah's husband? Will Sarah and Malloy get together? What have Maeve and Catherine been through and what will become of them? And what about Sarah's parents?

I'm not sure if I've spent more time enjoying them or studying them.

It's got me thinking about others who have done that well in books and television. Romances are popular in cozy mysteries. Then there's Monk's search for his wife's killer. The Fugitive's search for the one armed man. In Castle, Kate Beckett is searching for her mother's killer. In Bones, Brennan is looking for the truth about her parents. In Burn Notice, Michael Weston searches for who burned him.

And that's got my wondering what overarching story line(s) I could add for the cozy series I'm querying.

Do you know what to call this device? Do you have any favorite "series arcs" that drew you in?

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Forgotten Verse

When was the last time you heard this verse of the "Star Spangled Banner"?

Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand,
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with
vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that has made and preserved us as a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust";
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Have a safe and Happy Independence Day!