Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Shall the devil do his own investigating?"

In writing a mystery, I am biting off a piece of work with which I am none too familiar. That being admitted, I am in need of as much advice on the matter as I can possibly get. When reading P.D. James on Detective Fiction, I copied out several pages of quotes which are standing me in good stead when I get a bit muddled. My courage is particularly bolstered by such passages as:
"Miss Sayers did nothing in her life by halves. Having decided to earn some much-needed money by writing detective fiction, she applied her mind to the history, technique and possibilities of the genre. Being highly intelligent, opinionated, and combative, she had no hesitation in giving other people the advantage of her views."
I also find her commentary on the "golden era of detective fiction" quite interesting:
"These novels are, of course, paradoxical. They deal with violent death and violent emotions, but they are novels of escape. We are required to feel no real pity for the victim, no empathy for the murderer, no sympathy for the falsely accused. For whomever the bell tolls, it doesn't toll for us. Whatever our secret terrors, we are not the body on the library floor. And in the end, by the grace of Poirot's little grey cells, all will be well--except of course with the murderer, but he deserves all that's coming to him. All the mysteries will be explained, all the problems solved, and peace and order will return to that mythical village which, despite its above-average homicide rate, never really loses its tranquility."
In writing Anon, Sir, Anon, I am combining a bit of this golden-era flavor with reality. By that, I mean that while it is a "cozy" mystery, I feel that you will get to understand a bit of the gravity of the situation that more modern mysteries provide. All is not well and at the end of the book all cannot be well because something has changed and someone has died. Another quote from P.D. James gives you a bit of what I mean:
"I find it interesting that the detective hero, originated by Conan Doyle, has survived and is still at the heart of the story, like a secular priest, expert in the extraction of confession, whose final revelation of truth confers a vicarious absolution on all but the guilty."
Being that Farnham is a Christian, there is a deeper aspect of the plot. Christianity holds life more precious than anyone else and cutting it short is more vile a thing even than the world admits...an interesting angle to play and I'm enjoying the challenge.Well now. Off I go back to my writing; I'll leave you to ponder the above quotes and see what you think of them.
"I'm quite the hound, you know. I like a bit of the hue-and-cry."

4 comments:

Maddie Rose said...

I like your thoughts and encouragement on this subject! I for one would be very nervous too!

On a totally unrelated topic: where can I buy Fly Away Home? It isn't on Amazon and I thought that is where it would be.... I know it isn't out yet, but I thought maybe I could pre-order it.

Thanks in advance,
Maddie

Rachel Heffington said...

Maddie: due to Createspace's policies, I can't pre-order books myself because as soon as I approve the final proof, it will be available for sale in all the channels I chose. Hopefully next time around I will have found a loophole. I guess you'll have to be patient alongside me for a couple more days. ;) I am so pleased you are eager to buy it, though. :)

Bound and Freed said...

I find the quote on the golden era of detective fiction quite fascinating because, for many mysteries, it is true.
I feel as though your book will have more realistic depth to it. I can hardly wait to read it!

Rachel Rossano said...

Your quotes from Anon, Sir, Anon have really grabbed my interest. I am looking forward to reading it someday. :)