Monday, August 10, 2015

The challenges of writing a plausible mystery

This is the week I should learn whether Kindle Press will be publishing my mystery, Death in a Family Business. I have billed the book as "A Tommy Lovell Mystery," intending to continue Tommy's adventures. During the past month, I've been distracted by the Kindle Scout competition and lining up reviewers for the trade paperback edition of the book rather than beginning a new book.

After all, by creating Death in a Family Business I created Tommy Lovell, his father, and two potential love interests. I gave Tommy a back story—dropped out of college, married his college sweetheart and started a restaurant with her, lost the restaurant and the marriage—and I set him in a place and a milieu with which I am comfortable. The challenge is to invent another plausible murder mystery in which Tommy can be enmeshed.

First problem: Who is the murderer and what is his or her motivation? What drove him to kill another human being? Was it deliberate, a spur-of-the moment act, or an accident? In the mysteries I prefer and would prefer to write, the reader can understand and even, possibly, sympathize with the killer.

Second problem: Why are the police baffled? 

Third problem: What can Tommy do that the police cannot? He's not a cop or a detective, so he's limited in what he can reasonably investigate, even by what the police will tell him about an ongoing investigation.

I think I have solutions to some of these challenges, but not all. I suspect that once I know whether Kindle Press is publishing my book, I'll be able to focus on Tommy Lovell's next adventure.


  1. Sorry to see that your title was not selected by Kindle Scout. It looks good. As an author myself, I know how much work goes into writing a book & creating a mystery that works!

    1. Thank you for your nomination and comment. I will be publishing "Death in a Family Business" as a trade paperback and a Kindle e-book.


  2. Just posted my review of "Death in a Family Business" on Amazon and Goodreads. I really enjoyed it and you made the story plausible.

    Ted Duke