“I bet you could kill somebody with that wooden oar.”
My teenage daughter, accustomed to my murderous musing, practiced the “I’m not with her--I don’t even know who she is” tactic by silently moving away from me and staring off into the distance as we stood in line for the most delicious caramel popcorn at the beach. But the man in front of us in line was not ready for murder questions as he waited for his snack. He casually glanced back at me, eyeing me from my flip flops to my sunglasses, perhaps checking for dangerous weapons. All I had was a plastic caramel corn bucket, ready for refilling. I smiled, hopefully in a non-crazy and non-threatening manner. Maybe not. He hustled his wife closer to the group in front of them in the long, slow moving line.
I’m writing a murder mystery. It all hinges on the history of some very interesting characters and an unusual piece of art. The murder itself is standard stuff…the church deacon is bonked over the head with a heavy wooden picture frame. As I’ve been editing this story it occurred to me that next time it would be fun to have a really outrageous murder. So lately I’ve been seeing murder everywhere and testing out the possible scenarios on my family. Verbally, of course.
Finally it’s our turn out the caramel corn window. I shove our container at the frantic looking college kid and, instead of moving on to the pick-up window, pause.
“Can I ask you a favor?” I can see my daughter’s eye roll heavenward.
The college kid stops, holding my container. “What?” Favors are not something he’s used to dealing with on the job.
“I’ve been writing a murder mystery.”
“And it just occurred to me that those oars would make a perfect murder weapon.” I point toward the three sweaty college kids behind him stirring gigantic vats of caramel and popcorn. He turns and looks. For what feels like a long time. Or maybe he’s just too freaked out to look back at me.
“So is it okay if I take a couple of photos of the place?”
“Huh?” He turns back. I’m waving my camera at him. He steps into a corner, leaving me a clear view. “Go for it.” So I do. Click, click, click. I can picture the metal shelving lining the walls tumbling noisily to the floor. A puddle of melted caramel slowly making its way across the tiled floor. A murderer sneaking out the only door in the place.
So tell me, when you read a murder mystery do you prefer a complicated backstory leading to an uninspired method of murder or a wild and crazy murder with a predictable motive?
Jodi Webb is still working on her murder mystery, when she isn’t organizing WOW Blog Tours at www.wow-womenonwriting.com. You can read about her writing adventures as well as her reviews and giveaways of books at Words by Webb. This week she’s giving away FM for Murder by Patricia Rockwell and Twice A Spy by Keith Thompson.