Friday, March 5, 2010

Guest Blogger - Dorothy Howell

Secrets, Family, and Money -- A Deadly Combination

In our real lives we all know someone who did us wrong, a person who seemingly went out of their way to make our life miserable. If you could pick someone to run over with your car, it would be that person.

But would you do it?

What if you had a secret – a big secret? If you’d worked hard for years, built a solid life, always done the right thing, but one day – poof! – something went wrong and you were desperate to cover up your mistake.

How far would you go to protect your secret?

If a loved one was threatened, would you do anything to protect them?


I suppose none of us really know the answer to these questions until we’re faced with them. While we may have fantasized about getting even or getting back at someone who hurt us, few of us would take it to the extreme.

Yet ordinary people, overcome by extraordinary events, can do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. And those are the people I like to write about in my Haley Randolph murder mysteries.

I write cozy mysteries so there are no serial killers, no graphic murder scenes or gratuitous violence. For me, selecting the murder victim is the easy part. My victims and their murderers are average, everyday people. Someone amateur sleuth Haley, a 24 year old sales clerk in a big-time, quarter-life crisis, would run into.

Then it gets a little more complicated. I have to come up with a reason – a reason that will hold up for 300+ pages – why that person had to die. Maybe they learned something they shouldn’t have, or pushed someone just a little too far. Maybe they’d been hurt one too many times by that person. Perhaps they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I have to come up with a killer too, of course, someone who had a very good reason for murdering that nice, ordinary person. Besides motive, they need means and opportunity, as they say in all the TV crime dramas, so that goes into the mix as well.

And as if all of this weren’t enough to fit together, I like to throw in at least three other suspects, more if I can find good reason, a few red herrings, along with a trail of clues. I need an investigation that will cause Haley to call on her gorgeous private eye friend Jack Bishop, and Detective Shuman, LAPD’s hottest homicide detective.

Since I’m writing a series, I like to keep readers updated on Haley’s friends, so they have to make an appearance in every book. Then I throw in a romantic subplot – who doesn’t like a little romance with their murder? – and Haley’s crazed obsession with designer handbags.

All of this because somebody got murdered!

So what about you? If you could select a murder victim – for a book, of course, not real life – who would it be?



  1. A Homeowners Association Board President. LOL People hate them and blame them for everything that goes wrong.

  2. I'm thinking maybe a dentist would work for me.LOL

  3. Alphabetically or numerically in order of importance? LOL. Advertisers would have to be high on my list. Some of the dreck that assaults my senses on the television is motive enough for me.

  4. I just gave you an award at:

    Thank you,
    A.F. Heart


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