Tag Archive for: crime

I’m visting Frank Zafiro at his podcast Wrong Place, Write Crime, chatting about the Zodiac Mysteries and crime writing. Tune in to listen.

Well, don’t tell a soul, but I have.  That’s how the first inklings of Tail of the Dragon sprouted in my brain.
That’s when I first considered murdering a lawyer or . . . lawyers. 

Whaat, you say?  A lawyer?  Why?  Well, a long time ago, I worked for a lawyer who was loud, abusive, critical and just downright mean.  That’s when I first started to ponder how I was going to do away with him.   Don’t be shocked.  Tell the truth now.  Haven’t you ever considered killing your boss?  Maybe not all of your bosses over the years, but surely there must have been one that irritated you more than any other.  Well, perhaps irritated isn’t a strong enough word.  How about infuriated you until you saw red and you were tempted to throttle him with your bare hands.  Damn the consequences!

It was Shakespeare who said in Henry V, “Let’s kill all the lawyers.”  So it’s definitely not a new idea.  And then of course, Vlad the Impaler invited all the local lawyers to dinner and beheaded them.  So I’m not alone.  Am I a monster?  Certainly not!  I was just an overworked, underpaid, harassed legal peon.

I used to wonder if there was a way I could electrocute him using the cord to his hard drive.  I thought of poison – poison chocolates maybe.  After all, the chocolates could have been delivered by anyone.  Even a client.  Not me.  Certainly not me!  Several years ago, a secretary in a New York City law firm arrived at the office toting a gun and shot her boss dead as he sat in his executive chair.  See?  I wasn’t alone in my deathly fantasies.  I had a lot of sympathy for her! 

Did I do it?  Nope.  That’s why I’m still here.  That’s why I decided to kill some lawyers in Tail of the Dragon.  What else is an evil-thinking author to do but create such a story?  Julia Bonatti, my San Francisco astrologer, has no such lethal leanings.  She just wants to do good.  That’s why she agrees to sniff around her client’s law firm and try to find out who’s sending death threats.

Of course, as the bodies pile up, she soon realizes she’s bitten off more than she can chew.

And worst of all, even though she’s sure of the astrological clues, no one will listen.  What’s a well-meaning astrologer to do except get to the root of the problem and bring down a murderer?

Now tell me the truth.  Have you ever considered murder?  Even if it was just a fantasy?

Be honest now!

This post first appeared on July 26, 2018 at Lori’s Reading Corner.

It’s murder.  That’s what we love to read and that’s what crime fiction writers write.  But have you ever wondered about all the euphemisms we have for murder and death?  There’s a whole bunch.

There are the obvious ones – Uncle Herbert passed on or maybe Uncle Herbert passed over.
And then of course we have these —
He bought the farm
He’s pushing up daisies
He met his maker
He kicked the bucket
He’s gone to his heavenly reward and if Uncle Herbert was a complete scoundrel then we can assume he’s now roasting in hell!

So that led me to wondering why we’re all so fascinated with crime fiction, no matter the genre, whether we read it or whether we write it.
Is it the puzzle itself?  How many people in the mansion had access to the elderberry wine?
The whodunit?  Any one of the sewing circle could have skewered the victim when no one was looking.
Is it the scary thrills and chills of suspense?  Is my husband really who he says he is?
Is it the determined hunt we find in forensics and police procedurals?  Or is it all of these?

I know why I find it so fascinating.  It’s the psychology of the act.  The burning thing that drives an ordinary person to commit murder.  The exploration of the mind of an absolutely normal, everyday person who finds himself or herself in dire straits and doesn’t see any other way out.  I’m not talking about serial killers here.  They’re just completely nuts.  They need to be locked up forever so they won’t hurt anyone.  But the fascinating thing for me is the inner workings of the mind of an average human being pushed beyond the pale.

What about you?  Why do you read crime fiction – whatever the genre?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This post first appeared at A Blue Million Books on June 25, 2018.