Mystery Author: Strong Women, Great Stories

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I write three series: The Loser Mysteries, The Dead Detective Mysteries & the Simon & Elizabeth (Tudor) Mysteries as well as stand-alones that offer readers "Strong Women, Great Stories."
These days I also answer to Maggie Pill, who writes a cozy sleuth series. Maggie is a lot like Peg, just younger, cooler, and funnier.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Buchbrauchen

Okay, I made that word up, and I never studied German, so don't criticize!
There should be a word for wanting something good to read but not being sure what you want or able to find it.
Apparently what I want to read isn't very popular right now.
I've been sick of serial killers for years, but that's mainly what Amazon offers when you type in mystery.
I'm also sick of protagonists who aren't much better than the criminals they seek. I gave up on two books this week. In one the protag shared his client's cocaine with him and spent waaaaaay too much time describing the physical attributes of the sleazy, slimy women the client surrounded himself with. In the other, every cop was corrupt and every lawyer was shady to the point I was sick of all of them.
I've never been much for books where the mystery takes second place to something else, like growing kumquats or shopping.
I'm disappointed by books where the killer comes totally out of the blue in the last chapter. I should at least have the sense there were things I might have picked up on.
(I got a note from a reviewer last week who gave Dead for the Money a "solid" four stars because he enjoyed the book but figured out who the killer was before the end. My contention is that those of us who read mysteries a lot will often have an idea who the killer is because we're "experienced investigators." This is especially true for writers, who see where the author is trying to take the story because we do the same thing ourselves.)
So what is my buchbrauchen?
I want a good mystery. Don't care about anyone's sex life. Don't want to know how they make Christmas cookies. The protagonist can have faults, but I don't want those faults to be disgusting, depressing, or dwelt upon to the point they drive me nuts.
Such books are hard to find these days, since the public taste seems to run just the opposite. I try to write what my buchbrauchen demands, as James Fenimore Cooper did. Unhappy with what was available in his day, he wrote the kind of books he wanted to read. It might have ended up that he was the only one interested, since he went against the trend, but it didn't turn out that way.

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