Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Literary Murders


Despite having limited experience writing mysteries, I thought the proverbial “what-the-heck” to myself and decided to try writing some. My wife in particular likes mystery-style tales and I wrote this short-story for her. Set in the modern day San Francisco Bay Area, a female protagonist finds herself playing the part of a detective when her husband’s friend in the SFPD asks for her unique expertise in a very unusual case. Being a bookworm of epic, yet delightful, proportions, the heroine, Lily, and her husband accompany the police detective on an investigation regarding a series of murders in North Beach where several seemingly unconnected deaths possess one thing in common: each victim seems to be arranged in some sort of allusion to a piece of well known literature, i.e. classic American type books that are fairly famous.

In addition, I’ve tried to add a distinctive retro art-nouveau background to the setting, using architectural landmarks in the City (i.e. Telegraph Hill) as well as adding some Alphonse Mucha artwork to the main character’s repertoire of artistic taste. Essentially, during the plot as the bodies add up, Lily discerns several clues previously undiscovered by the local police as she begins a series of interviews with the tenants of the building where one of the victims lived. Gradually, the killer’s increasing use of literary references in the murders scattered throughout the city puts Lily on track to unraveling a seemingly random series of unfortunate occurrences.

Now, truthfully this is more a fun exercise than a determined push into writing professionally in this genre. However, mystery remains an essential element in any good piece of fiction, so I’m definitely hoping to learn from the experience of writing (and reading) more and more well written detective prose. My main influences in this story are a mix of Agatha Christie’s Poirot tales and some of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. I’m hoping for some constructive feedback as well in the hopes of improving my rather inexperienced mystery-style authorship. If you would like a copy or simply enjoy fiction set in San Francisco, please let me know. Thanks.