Looking behind the curtain

It's time to take a look behind the curtain.
image by maxime amoudruz | unsplash

If you’ve seen the Wizard of Oz you’ll know about the man behind the curtain.

It’s a great visual reminder that things are not always what they seem on the surface.

Looking behind the curtain is an essential skill for anyone investigating a crime, and creating curtains is a fun game for crime writers.

It’s also an essential life skill if you don’t want to be taken in by appearances.

How often have you judged a book by its cover and been disappointed? And, how often have you judged a book by its cover and missed out on a great read because you failed to look behind the curtain?

You need to look behind the curtain in all aspects of your life, not just when choosing a book to read. Think about all that advertising you’re bombarded with and all that political spin. Think about what you’re being fed as news.

If you never question or examine what you’re told you’ll end up like the citizens of Oz: believing in a fraud.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Crime novels

Crime novels are written for entertainment.

The stories are more about people than crime. They are a way of exploring human behaviour.

Crime stories allow us to look at why people commit acts, like murder, and at the impact of those acts on others, especially the people tasked with bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Crime novels might allow us to understand why someone committed a crime, but they also provide us with a reassurance that crimes can be solved.

Crime stories, especially murder mysteries, are also a bit of a game between authors and readers.

An author wants to keep the suspense and mystery going to draw readers into the story. Readers not only want to be drawn into a story, they also want to work out who did it before the author reveals the identity of the killer.

The author has the advantage at the start, but needs to be careful not to give the game away too early. Readers need to be wary of the difference between genuine clues and red herrings to avoid being led down the garden path.

The fun for both parties is in revealing the identity of the villain towards the end of the story. That way, the author gets to tell the story and readers get to find out if they’ve solved the crime along with the investigating detective.

Crime novels allow us to walk on the dark side of the street from the safety of our favourite reading spot.

Inspector Westv3

Inspector West is nearly ready to entertain you again in a story of murder, arson and revenge.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic, The New Girlfriend and Everyday Project Management.

Workshop Weekend

Sometimes you end up doing way too much.

I spent Friday at a Lean Management workshop. Check out this 90 second video Lean Management for a quick overview of the principles.

Yes, in case you’re wondering why I was there, it’s true – government agencies are into lean management.

The presenter took the time to point out that being a lean organisation does not mean being a malnourished organisation – one trying to improve efficiency by reducing the number of employees – a common misconception.

I devoted Saturday and Sunday to the SA Writers Centre Crime Fest workshop. Two days of panel discussions and master classes on writing crime. What a buzz.

Crime writing is alive and kicking down under. Met some interesting people, bought some books (as you do) and heard some interesting tales from a clinical psychologist, a retired deputy police commissioner and writers of crime both real and fictional.

burglarOne interesting point made by the real crime writers and the policeman was that crime fiction is generally more exciting than real crime, which is usually fairly mundane and poorly executed by unskilled criminals. So, I guess that’s why we read it.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

 

 

 

Iced

City bus stopShe waited at the bus stop, alone. He knew the bus would arrive in five minutes. She ignored him. He felt the need for ice from deep within his psyche. She read the romance she had downloaded the previous evening. He saw his target and executed his attack.

She grabbed his arm as he snatched her smartphone. He lost his balance and staggered onto the road. She screamed. He failed to look before crossing. The car did not stop, until after his head had hit the windscreen and then the road.

Her smartphone was broken.

His deep craving was iced.

Dying days

They spent hours strolling along the beach in the dying days of summer.

What are dying days?

In the context of the sentence above, they are the dwindling days or the last days of summer. They represent that period of transition from the pleasant season of summer to the chill winds of autumn – announcing the imminent approach of winter coldness.

They’re romantic sounding words, evoking images of warm evenings, gentle breezes, and a foreboding of things coming to an end. These are the days we do not want to end.

Summer1

Dying days take on a more sinister tone within the context of a murder mystery, where we often find ourselves dealing with an examination of the days leading up to someone’s untimely death. Now there’s another interesting description – untimely death.

Death is, after all, a natural event but we generally only regard it as timely when it occurs naturally, that is without assistance from an outside force – like a blunt instrument being applied to the head.

I wonder what each of us would do differently if we knew we were living our dying days, that dwindling number of days leading up to our untimely death.

Isn’t it intriguing how we live as if we will be here forever?

Yet we all know that there will come a day when we aren’t living our dying days but our dying day.

It’s fascinating reading about someone else’s untimely death within the context of a crime novel, and consoling to know that crimes can be solved and justice applied, but what is it that attracts us to this genre?

As a writer, it’s about creating a web of intrigue based on the darker side of life, taking myself into places in words that I would never go into in life. In the last week, for example, I have spent my nights plotting and then executing a triple murder – all without leaving the house or picking up a weapon.

I wonder why people do things like kill their partner. And, when you read real crime stories as opposed to crime fiction, you discover that people do things for very trivial reasons.

Maybe we read crime because fictional crime is more exciting than the real stuff.

What do you think?

Quick crime

He watched them walk to the bus stop and catch a bus into the city.

They would not be back for hours.

He entered the yard by the side gate. There was one large window in the rear wall of the house. It was shut. A gentle slide with his gloved hand revealed that it was not locked. The window opened into an open-plan kitchen. He stepped through into a cool interior, saturated with the smell of the bacon and eggs they’d shared for breakfast.

key-408559_640The keys were on the counter.

He backed their car into the street.

Too easy.

 

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.