“I have been in love with story all my life,” says Gayle Roper, the award winning author of more than forty-five books. “Give me a story with strong characters and a captivating plot, and I’m one happy reader. Or writer.”
Among Gayle’s awards are the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award, the Carol Award from American Christian Fiction Writers, two Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, and three HOLT Medallions. She has been a Christy finalist three times and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Reviewers Choice Award from Romantic Times Book Report.
For her work in training Christian writers Gayle has won special recognition from Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, St. Davids CWC, Florida CWC, and Greater Philadelphia CWC. She lives in southeastern Pennsylvania. She enjoys reading, spending time at the family’s Canadian cottage, gardening, and eating out every time she can manage it.
RED HERRINGS - PART TWO
Last time we talked about the real clue being hidden in a cluster of false clues or red herrings, like the contents of a purse. Hidden in with the lipstick, the train schedule, a stamped letter, a chiropractor’s card is the library card that leads to the killer.
Another way for clues to be hidden in plain sight is through misdirection. By that I mean overwhelming the important with the unimportant.
Eighteen year old Jodie found her father murdered. Three weeks later:
“Jodie,” Mac said, “what a lovely dress.”
Jodie smiled shyly. “Thanks, Uncle Mac.”
“Your father would be so proud of you.”
Jodie looked skeptical.
Mac reached to push the library door open. “Well, you looked lov—” He stopped abruptly. Not much surprised him, but he was poleaxed by what he saw.
Jodie could not see this! She’d had to face enough in the past three weeks. She didn’t need this too. He shifted his position, trying to block her from what he’d seen and the distress it would cause.
But her indrawn breath told him she’d seen her mother deep in the embrace of Ken Wiley, an embrace that held nothing of the comfort of a friend and much of the intensity of a lover.
Mac’s heart wrenched at the pain on Jodie’s face. With a sob, the girl turned and ran, distress in every line of her body.
“Jodie,” Mac called, but she kept going. Even if he went after her, how could he tell her that there was nothing wrong with her mother kissing her late father’s best friend.
If this was a book, we’d expand the scene in the library, making more of Jodie’s distress and Mac’s unhappiness. We’d have the widow try to defend herself and Ken attempt to explain away the obvious.
But the real clue would be Jodie looking lovely. Slowly, little by little, people would notice her wearing makeup, dressing more stylishly, blossoming, becoming a woman rather than the stunted person she’d been under her father’s overbearing control. Little by little her motive of resentment, anger, and bitterness at his treatment would become evident.
But always the clue would be buried in something else that seemed more important. It’s all about misdirection.