Mystery of murder

Murder: the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

Execution: the carrying out of a sentence of death on a condemned person or the killing of someone as a political act.

Did you notice that one word that makes these two acts different?

Skull

In case you missed it, there was a public official from Texas on the TV News the other night, reminding us that it’s okay to use a lethal injection to execute a man on death row – because it is legal.

The only murders we should be reading about are the ones in crime novels. Sadly, not everybody agrees with me.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

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?

Here, there be dragons!

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly arrived at my place this week, courtesy of one of my brothers, who thought I might be inspired to continue writing by Matthew’s impressive sales figures – more than 7 million copies in 20 different languages according to the blurb on the book cover. Or maybe he’s trying to get me to stop writing murder mysteries and switch to his preferred read – action thrillers.

In the front of the book, Matthew reminds us that ancient map makers used to write – Here, there be dragons – on those parts of the map which represented unknown or unexplored regions.

That prompted this response from the support crew here in Adelaide.

Here there be dragons

Always happy to promote a fellow Aussie author.

If you’re not into action thrillers – maybe I can tempt you buy one of my murder mysteries and push my sales numbers closer to that mythic 7 million mark!

Thanks for dropping by, Peter