Monday, August 26, 2013

RULES FOR WRITING DETECTIVE FICTION?????


 
Sharon Dunn writes both humorous mysteries and romantic suspense. Her book Night Prey (Love Inspired Suspense) won a Carol award for 2011. Her first book Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves was a Romantic Times top pick and finalist in the inspirational Novel of the Year. Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante, the second book in that same series (The Ruby Taylor mysteries) was voted book of the year by ACFW. Zero Visibility is her fifth Love Inspired Suspense with another one scheduled for release in March 2013 titled Guard Duty. When she is not writing, Sharon spends time with her husband, three children, two cats and a nervous little border collie named Bart. You can read more about Sharon and her books by visiting her website.
 
I’ve just finished a book that I have been waiting to see a Christian publisher put out for a long time. Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering (see the August 2 interview with the author on Suspense Sisters). This book recalls all the fun traditions of classic mystery aka Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers while adding a spiritual thread with a very soft touch. Good clean reading with a traditional whodunit. Drew Farthering makes the perfect British aristocrat turned amateur detective.  There is a touch of romance when Drew falls for the sharp witted American, Madeline Parker, but the focus is on the mystery and following the clues. The book has all that you would expect of a British mystery while adding something new to the genre.

If you do get a chance to read the book you might also want to check out Knox’s ten commandments for mystery writers written in 1929 which Deering references in her Author Notes. Knox was a priest turned mystery writer who came up with these rules for mystery writing. Thus Deering named her book the Rules of Murder in which she breaks all the outdated and somewhat silly rules Knox suggested. If you are a mystery lover, let me know what you think about these rules:

The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.

All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.

Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.

 
No Chinaman must figure in the story.

No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

The detective must not himself commit the crime.

The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.

The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader. 

Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

I hope you get a chance to pick up a copy of The Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering. 

Best                           

Sharon Dunn


 

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