Why Murder Mysteries?
By Lauren Carr
Mysteries have been around since the beginning of time. Even the first murder was a mystery, though it did not take long for God to solve it. There were no other suspects to Abel’s murder except Cain, who tried to cover up his crime by claiming his brother had disappeared. We all know how that worked out.
I guess that makes God the first detective.
It’s the not-knowing that attracts mystery fans—the trying to figure it out—the piecing together the bits of the puzzle to create the big picture.
Truthfully, there are lovers of mysteries in all areas of literature, science, you name it. Scientists search for how the Earth ticks in order to uncover how we can better use our resources. Computer sciences use their knowledge to uncover what went wrong before and during this crash (What event preceded this event? Who did what? Where was everyone?) to find out what happen. In other words, who is the perp that broke this network?
I inherited my love of murder mysteries from my mother, who used to read Perry Mason to me at bedtime. My first memories are of cuddling up in bed next to her. She would read Earl Stanley Gardner’s novels to me. I would nod off to the sound of Perry Mason revealing the killer in a dramatic courtroom scene. Sometimes, I would dream of being Perry Mason—a female version of Perry Mason.
The mystery genre, which is sometimes partnered with mystery-thriller, is broken down into several sub-genres. Some of these sub-genres concentrate on the violence of the crime, rather than the puzzle of trying to solve it.
Others concentrate on taking apart the murder, bit by bit, and examining each component (evidence, witness statements, alibis, etc) in order to find the killer. Fans of CSI and forensics mysteries belong in this group. In these murder mysteries, the crime scene is literally taken apart and examined under a microscope.
So, I’m not really any different from anyone else in the world in my love for mysteries. The next question, why murder?
Answer: Murder mysteries are the ultimate puzzle. Can you think of any other puzzle where the stakes are higher? Here, truth, justice, and life and death are on the line. If the detective fails to find his killer, he may get away with it, which will make a mockery of our system of law and order. Or worse, he may even strike again.
It is such cases that truly put to test the detective’s puzzle solving skills.
As a murder mystery writer, I get to enjoy the game of creating that big picture myself, and then take it apart and challenge my readers to put the pieces together before my detective unveils it. It is a cat and mouse game played within the pages of my books—only it isn’t between killer and detective, but writer and reader.
In my latest Mac Faraday Mystery, Blast from the Past, readers, along with Mac, will be challenged to solve multiple murders in Spencer, Maryland, which occur on the heels of the arrival of Tommy Cruze, an organized crime boss out to settle a score with Archie Monday, Mac’s lady love. When Tommy Cruze is killed in a café, the obvious assumption is that he is the target? But was he? What role did the couple who got into a fight and left moments before his death play? Or was their fight and hurried departure only a coincidence? Maybe he wasn’t the target. After all, no one knew he was going to be there. Was the café owner the target?
Are you up to putting together this puzzle? Get Blast from the Past to find out for yourself.
In Blast from the Past, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.
After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!
Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town of Spencer, Maryland, things may be hotter than even he can handle.
Spencer, Maryland – Deep Creek Lake – Present Day
“Gnarly, it’s time for to go to your appointment.”
Lovely in her soft grey Chanel suit, rose-colored blouse, and stylish pumps, Archie Monday, assistant to the late Robin Spencer, hurried up the stairs to the second floor of Spencer Manor and down the hallway to the master suite. The rose leather clutch bag under her arm was a perfect match for the fedora she wore over her pixie-styled blonde hair.
“Gnarly, are you in here?” She threw open the double doors to find the German shepherd sitting in the suite’s bathroom doorway. “There you are. It’s time to go.” She gestured for the dog to come to her.
Instead of obeying his favorite human, Gnarly whined and turned his attention back to the happenings inside the other room.
“Go where?” Mac Faraday called out to her from the bathroom.
She crossed the width of the suite to peer in at him. The sight that greeted her wasn’t what she had expected from the son of Robin Spencer, whose roots were as blue-blood as they come.
The clichéd appearance of a wealthy man calls for him to be tall, dark, and handsome—maybe ruggedly handsome—and at the very least, well-groomed. A man of wealth is best able to achieve this requirement by hiring others—like plumbers—to do the dirty work.
Two years after his inheritance allowed him to retire from his career as a homicide detective, Mac Faraday had chosen to ignore that rule.
His middle-class upbringing had a different rule: If you can do it yourself—no matter how dirty the job—it’s a waste of money to hire someone else to do it for you.
Determination had drawn Mac’s handsome face into a scowl. His blue eyes were narrowed into slits focused on the toilet in which he was plunging away. Water splashed upwards to spill over the sides and drenched the lower half of his sweatpants down to his bare feet.
Even in this less than glamorous setting, Archie did find his arm and chest muscles, bulging from the workout, appealing. When Mac yanked the plunger up from out of the toilet, in the process splattering the water across his firm stomach and down the front of his pants, she reconsidered that assessment. Maybe not that appealing after all. She asked, “What are you doing?”
“What does it look like?”
“It’s stopped up.” He shook the dripping plunger in Gnarly’s direction. “And I have a feeling I know who did it.”
Uttering a whine, Gnarly moved to hide behind Archie’s legs.
She jumped to the shepherd’s defense. “Why are you blaming Gnarly? He doesn’t use the toilet. You’re the only one who uses this toilet.”
“You’ve used it.” Mac reminded her of her frequent nights spent with him in the master suite. “Maybe I should blame you.”
She folded her arms across her bosom. “I wouldn’t go there if I were you.”
“That’s why I’m blaming Gnarly.” He again pointed the plunger at the dog. “Look at him. Do you see that guilty expression on his face? He’s done something, and I suspect it has to do with this toilet.”
“Even if he did drop something into it, how did he flush it?” She giggled. “Mac, he’s a dog.”
The phone on the bed stand rang before Mac could come up with a response. “Answer that, will you?” He returned to his plunging.
“I need to take Gnarly to the groomer,” she called in to him while trotting to the king-sized bed that they had been sharing.
Mac Faraday had inherited the mansion from Robin Spencer, who, as an unwed teenager, had given him up at birth. However, his late mother had stipulated that her research assistant and editor, Archie Monday, was permitted to live in the stone guest cottage tucked away in the rose garden for as long as she wanted.
The beautiful green-eyed blonde had come with the house, and Mac Faraday was in no hurry for her to move out … nor was she in any hurry to leave.
Spencer’s police chief David O’Callaghan didn’t sound his usual jovial self when Archie answered the phone. After a quick hello, he asked for Mac.
“David, you sound terrible,” she observed.
“My weekend’s been shot,” he replied. “One of my cruisers was stolen last night.”
“Are you serious?”
Mac came into the bathroom doorway. “What’s wrong?”
She told him, “One of David’s police cruisers got stolen.”
David told her the reason for his call. “Tell Mac that I’m going to miss the game this afternoon. I need to fill out a ton of reports and find out how someone was able to break into our garage to steal a police cruiser.” He added, “Our guys are going to be the laughing stock of the state for this.”
In Archie’s other ear, Mac was asking, “Does he need any help finding the scum who stole it?”
“It was probably some bored teenagers pulling a prank,” she told them both.
“Committing a felony doesn’t make for a very good prank,” they told her in unison.
Seeing the time on the alarm clock on the bed stand, she announced, “Gnarly and I are late.” She handed the phone to Mac.
“Where are you taking Gnarly?” he asked her.
“To the groomer,” she said. “It’s the first Saturday of the month.”
“What does that have to do with it?”
“Mac?” David called to him from the phone.
“Gnarly has a standing appointment for the first Saturday of the month,” she said with her hands on her hips. “Ten-thirty with Misty. He gets the works.”
“What’s ‘the works’?”
“Mac, are you there?” David asked him.
Archie ticked off each item on her fingers. “Shampoo, deep conditioner, teeth cleaning, toenails clipped, aromatherapy—they’re having a special today on strawberries and champagne—and—and this is Gnarly’s favorite—a deep body massage.”
Gnarly pawed at her hand.
“For a dog?” Mac’s voice went up in pitch.
“Dogs need pampering, too.”
“How much is all this going to cost?” Mac asked.
“Only two-hundred and twenty-five dollars.”
“Only two hundred and twenty-five dollars?” Mac objected. “I don’t spend that much a year on my own hair, and I’m a human.”
“And you look like it.” She kissed him. “I have to go. Misty is very popular. She will only hold Gnarly’s appointment for ten minutes. Once I was late, and she gave his appointment to a chow. Gnarly was in a snit the whole next week until Misty was able to fit him in.”
Gnarly uttered a whine mixed with a bark before charging down the stairs. Archie tucked her handbag under her arm and hurried after him.With a shake of his head, Mac sat down onto the bed and brought the phone to his ear. “Dave …” All he heard from the other end of the line was a dial tone.
PURCHASE A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award.
Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. It’s Murder, My Son, Old Loves Die Hard, and Shades of Murder, have all been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Blast from the Past is the fourth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series. The next installment in the Mac Faraday series will be released in October of this year.
Released September 2012, Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. The second installment in the Lovers in Crime series will be out in 2013.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:
Website: http://acornbookservices.com/ / http://mysterylady.net/
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page: