One of the obvious joys of reading mysteries is trying to solve the crime before the author finishes the tale. It’s a compulsion, one that leads us into an almost schizophrenic dilemma. On one hand, if we can’t figure out who done it, we are disappointed in ourselves for not being as clever as the writer. On the other hand, if we solve it too soon in the storyline, we’re disappointed in the writer for not being as clever as we are.
Yet there is one narrow avenue to thoroughly pleasing us which provides for being right on some counts, while encountering a surprise twist at the end that stands up to scrutiny and doesn’t leave us feeling cheated by a farfetched scenario. This is the most satisfying outcome, as it allows us to feel good about our powers of observation while being dazzled by the writer’s cunning.
Okay…so being a mystery aficionada was all well and good until Madeline Dawkins—Mad Dawg—popped into my head. Now I’m on the other side of the whodunit enterprise, which is not nearly as easy as sitting back with a stick at the ready to poke holes in other writers’ plotlines. Unlike the general fiction books I have written, crafting a solid mystery requires a higher degree of forethought, resulting in weeks of drafting the plots in my head before I lay a finger on the keyboard.
Such is the case as I wade into the third book in the Madeline series. Whereas “Spouse Trap”—the prequel to the series—is more of a ‘whathappened’ than a whodunit, “A High Price to Pay” is a traditional mystery. Perhaps my entrée into this new genre is my karma for reading and watching all those mysteries with a calloused eye, itching to jump on any plot twist that didn’t measure up to my keen standards. Boy, is payback a…! But then again, if I wasn’t such a demanding critic, I might not understand how crucial it is to craft mysteries with the utmost care.
It does give me a better appreciation for what goes into honing a fine mystery now that I must turn around and cough out something that can stand up to unwavering critics, as I now see myself and other mystery enthusiasts. I must say I’m grateful for that edge, for being part of the silent, unseen audience who wants to be intrigued, challenged and occasionally right.
For all you fellow mystery hounds, I humbly offer “A High Price to Pay” for FREE downloading on Amazon today. Please check out it out on the link below. And Happy Sleuthing!
Until next time,