3 Writing Tricks To Steal From Fleur Bradley’s MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL

A couple weeks ago, I was the lucky duck who received an advanced reading copy of my dear friend's (hi, Fleur!) newest novel for middle grade readers: Midnight at the Barclay Hotel. My review of the story is up at Criminal Element which you can check out here. But I thought it'd be useful for... Continue Reading →

Writing a Series that Can Be Read Out-of-Order

As a reader of mysteries (and, to a lesser extent, fantasies), one of the difficulties I run into is finding a series where I don't have to start at the beginning -- like if the library or bookstore doesn't have a copy of the number I need. And, sometimes I just wanna grab a book,... Continue Reading →

New Year, New Mentors: Tana French

Welcome 2016!!New years are for new starts and I'm gonna kick of 2016 with a brand new batch o'mentors.First up, we have Tana French!Tana French is one of my very favorite authors. Based in Dublin, Ireland, French trained as a professional actor at Trinity College. She's worked in theatre, film, and voiceover. She's well-traveled. But,... Continue Reading →

Two Different Ends to Two Different Series

I just finished reading Curtain, Poirot's last case. (I promise I won't give away the end.) And recently I'd also read Sleeping Murder, which is Marple's last case. In both cases the books were written years (decades) before they were published.Also in both cases the sleuths are still sharp, still the same old human-observers, and... Continue Reading →

Thursday Reviews: Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie (A Mentor Review!)

Sleeping Murder by Agatha ChristieMy rating: 3 of 5 starsThis book was written waaaay before it was published in 1976. It sat in a deposit box waiting for the light of day. So there may be some inconsistancies with the rest of the series...but Miss Marple is not a series that you have to read... Continue Reading →

The Literary Portion of the Detective Novel

Strange that I should be talking about the accusations leveled against genre and literary writers when, lo, I come across an article by George Grella entitled “Murder and Manners: The Formal Detective Novel,” published in NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, which contains an example of exactly the type of rhetoric aimed at genre writing in... Continue Reading →

The Observant Character

The key to Miss Marple's sleuthing is her insight into human behavior. Regardless of the violent act that has occurred, there is a simple, human reason/motivation behind it. By observing people and comparing those observations to other observations of human behavior in her history (which Miss Marple has quite a store of....), Miss Marple manages... Continue Reading →

The Character Who Got Away…Maybe

The first Miss Marple novel is Murder at the Vicarage. It’s narrated by the Vicar Leonard Clement and the entire story centers around a murder that – as the title so elegantly shows – happened at his vicarage (a.k.a his home…talk about a rough night!). The reader is introduced to his family, spends time with... Continue Reading →

The Character Who is You

We’ve spent the last few days talking Poirot, and next week I’m gonna talk Jane Marple, but today I wanted to talk about a recurring character in Christie’s work who has been noted to mirror Agatha Christie herself: Ariadne Oliver.Ariadne Oliver is a sixty-ish woman who writes mystery novels about a foreign detective named Sven... Continue Reading →

Working the Setting

So many of the Hercule Poirot novels (and Miss Marple too!)depend upon the setting to contain the story. Often, Christie puts her characters in a small village, brings them into a closed suite of rooms, or, most legendarily, puts them on a train. Let's look at the pros and cons of this closed-circuit kind of... Continue Reading →

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