Thursday, April 18, 2013

When real life intrudes on fiction.

This week I had planned to do a final polish on my latest book, City of Darkness and Light. And then life horrible tragedy after another, terrorism, explosions, senseless deaths.
When things like this happen I find myself wondering about the books I write. My stories all involve small tragedies--at least one murder, lives torn apart, families devastated. And these are written for entertainment, clever clues, witty detectives, scary moments, suspense.

 We detach ourselves from the basic fact that killing another human being is the worst thing that a human can do. So I'm wondering if what I am doing is morally wrong, whether I am in any way glorifying killing and death.

I don't think this is true. I think I always write with true sympathy for those who have lost a loved one. I don't take death lightly. Some of my books, especially Evans Gate, have examined how the loss of a loved one tears a family apart. And in those of my books that are comedies, I never take the actual murder lightly.

And I know that people find our books comforting at such times because we try to make sense of the senseless. We find the murderer. We bring him or her to justice. We bring the closure that doesn't often happen in real life.  I'll get back to those final re-writes now.

Hug your loved ones today and let them know how much they mean to you.


  1. I've actually been thinking this same thing all week -- especially as it coincides with the week I'm self publishing my first mystery novel. I really considered not doing it, but I will be going forward. My reasons are complicated, but suffice to say -- like you -- I don't take death lightly. Still, it's something I'm grappling with.

  2. I love to read mystery stories, not because of the "violence", but because of the puzzle and in the end, the culprit is caught and will serve due punishment. I think old-fashioned mysteries, including the cozies, teach us that crime is wrong. I'd don't read graphic mysteries. I'm not interested in "seeing" the act and the resulting gore, I'm interested in the end result, the criminal being caught.

    Agatha Christie's mysteries and yours, Rhys, fit into this category, as do many others I read. I also like yours because we get to intimately know your protagonists, Molly and Georgie. I don't believe your mysteries are only about crime. They'll about much more than that, including justice. I love reading how those two young woman overcome obstacles and how they manage to make lives for themselves without much assistance from others. Even the tightwad Daniel didn't pay Molly for professional work she did for him but she managed somehow. I'm still scratching my head about why she married the scoundrel.

  3. Ya I love mystery books and considering becoming a mystery novelists when I grow up, and really I know for a fact that criminals these days never get inspired by a mystery book, if they did, they would not be caught as easily