In The Spotlight: Charlotte Jay’s A Hank of Hair

>In The Spotlight: P.D. Martin's Body CountHello, All,

Welcome to another edition of In The Spotlight. One of the themes that comes up quite often in crime fiction, especially in novels of psychological suspense, is obsession. And that makes sense. Obsession can certainly lead people to do things that most of us would consider strange or even frightening. It can twist people’s thinking and it can lead to murder, too. To see how this theme works in a crime novel, let’s turn today’s spotlight on Charlotte Jay’s A Hank of Hair.

Gilbert Hand is a junior partner in a small bookselling/publishing firm. When his wife Rachel tragically dies in a shipboard drowning incident, he is left bereft. He admits that their marriage wasn’t a passionate love story, but they’d had ten peaceful and good years together. Partly at the suggestion of his doctor, Hand makes a major change in his life. He sells the home he and Rachel shared and moves to a quiet, respectable hotel in London.

Hand settles into his room and begins to explore it. That’s when he discovers that the davenport he’ll be using has a storage area with something hidden inside. It turns out to be a bundle of silk wrapped around a long coil of dark hair. Immediately he’s curious about how it got there, so he starts to ask some questions. He soon finds out that the last occupant of the room was a man named Freddie Doyle and begins to wonder about the man and ask around about him.

At about the same time, Doyle returns to the hotel, saying he ‘left something behind.’ The hotel’s owners won’t let him into what is now Hand’s room for privacy reasons, so he takes a different approach. One day Hand returns to his room and sees Doyle and one of the hotel staff looking through his things. Now Hand is sure that Doyle did leave the coil of hair behind, and that he may have killed its owner. He refuses to give it back, ordering both to leave. When Doyle’s girlfriend Gladys Wilson comes to visit him, though, Hand has to change his thinking, as Gladys is most certainly alive and well.

Hand now becomes obsessed with Doyle and begins to believe there’s a macabre sort of chess game going on between them. He determines to ‘win’ by taking Doyle’s girlfriend. Then, the body of a young woman is found in a well. Hand is convinced that it was her hair that he found in his room, and that Doyle killed her. He tries to tell the police of his concerns, but his story isn’t a logical one. The police find all sorts of contradictions in it, although they do listen to what he has to say. Not long afterwards, Gladys disappears. Sure that she is in grave danger, Hand goes looking for her, hoping to save her. For him, the world has been reduced to winning over Doyle.

This novel explores obsession in several ways. At one level, there is Hand’s obsession with Doyle. In fact, it becomes so strong that he’s not always sure where he leaves off and Doyle begins. At the same time he finds Doyle both repulsive and irresistible, if I can put it that way. There’s also the hair fetish element. From the moment he finds the coil of hair, Hand is obsessed with it and for a time, he wants to keep it as much because of his fascination with it as anything else. And certainly Doyle is obsessed with having that hank of hair back.

At another level, we see obsession in Hand’s thoughts about Rachel. Although she has died by the time the story begins, she figures into it several times. Hand is not always honest about his fixation (or possibly not aware of it), but he is obsessed with her drowning. For instance, he spends his share of time at St. James’ Park, where there is a lake:
 

‘I don’t need to explain to you, do I, the fascination of water?’
 

He dreams of Rachel’s death, too.

Another important element in this novel is the plot point of the unreliable narrator. The more obsessed and fixated Hand becomes, the more difficult it is to decide whether he’s telling the truth, telling what he actually believes to be the truth, or simply telling what he imagines. This becomes especially apparent as he begins to identify more and more with Doyle and that man’s obsessions. And since the story is told from Hand’s perspective, and using the first person, it’s not always easy to see what is actually true and what is simply Hand’s perception. In the end, the reader does learn the truth about the dead body and about the hair that Hand found in his room, but it’s also obvious that Hand tells the story as he wants it to be.

We see that as different characters are introduced. Not many of them are painted particularly sympathetically, and that adds atmosphere to the story. What’s more, some of the characters who seem pleasant enough at the beginning seem to become less and less so as the novel continues. Is it because they were never sympathetic to begin with, or is it because of Hand’s way of thinking about them?

The story is told in flashback, and from the first line, readers infer that Hand is telling what happened to someone:
 

‘I’m not going to give explanations and make excuses. I’ll tell you what happened, and you can draw your own conclusions.’
 

Throughout the story, there are occasional pauses where Hand makes a side comment to the person listening to what happened. Readers who prefer stories that are told in straight chronological order will notice this. At the end of the novel, we can infer who that person is, and the last scene of the story ties it to the beginning.

One other thing is of note about this novel. The edition I read comes out at 113 pages, not counting a short, informative Afterward. Readers who prefer short introductions to an author’s work and would like to try Jay’s writing will be pleased at this.

A Hank of Hair is an atmospheric psychological story of suspense with a London setting. It features an unreliable narrator and an exploration of obsession in some of its many forms. But what’s your view? Have you read A Hank of Hair? If you have, what elements do you see in it?
 
 
 

Coming Up On In The Spotlight
 

Monday 8 September/Tuesday 9 September – Dead Simple – Peter James

Monday 15 September/Tuesday 16 September – A Beautiful Place to Die – Malla Nunn

Monday 22 September/Tuesday 23 September – Bangkok 8 – John Burdett

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Filed under A Hank of Hair, Charlotte Jay

If Not For You*

Strong Secondary CharactersMany crime novels feature one or perhaps two main protagonists. The stories focus on those people, and in high quality novels, they’re well developed and interesting. But sometimes, one of the secondary characters is at least as interesting – maybe even more so. Sometimes it’s because that character has an air of mystery about her or him. Sometimes it’s because of that character’s strong or unusual kind of personality. Sometimes it’s for other reasons. Either way, those secondary characters may not have leading roles, but they still stand out in the memory. Here are just a few examples; I’m quite certain you can think of more than I could anyway.

One such character, Mr. Robinson, appears in several Christie stories, including Cat Among the Pigeons (in which Hercule Poirot ‘stars’), Postern of Fate (A Tommy and Tuppence Beresford Novel) and Passenger to Frankfurt (a standalone). We never learn a great deal about Mr. Robinson, and that adds to the mystery of his character. We do know that he’s financier who counts among his friends people in high and sensitive government positions. He also does business with all sorts of international clients as well. We know nearly nothing about his background, nor do we know exactly where he lives. He’s quite honest about his interest in the adventures he’s involved in: money. But at the same time, he’s not a cruelly greedy person. Here is how he describes himself and his fellow financiers in Cat Among the Pigeons,
 

‘It is a very old trade… And a lucrative one…We work in with one another and remember this: we keep faith. Our profits are large, but we are honest.’
 

Mr. Robinson might or might not be a good choice for a ‘lead’ character, but he adds an interesting layer to Christie’s work as a secondary one.

We could say the same thing of Eleanor Wish, who appears in several of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels. When we meet her in The Black Echo, she’s an FBI agent works with Bosch on a complicated case involving a major carefully-planned bank robbery, the murder of Vietnam veteran, and a group of Vietnamese families who live in Orange County (south of Los Angeles). Wish leaves the FBI and takes up a new career as a professional poker player. She’s still helpful to Bosch in some of his cases (see Trunk Music), and the two develop a relationship. Eventually they marry. The marriage doesn’t last, but they have a daughter Madeleine ‘Maddie’ together. And there are suggestions that Bosch never really stops loving Wish. She is an interesting person with a bit of a mysterious background. She’s also very much her own person with her own way of thinking. Like Mr. Robinson, Eleanor Wish might or might not have been successful as the ‘lead’ character in a novel or series, but as a secondary character, she adds much to the Bosch novels.

Elly Griffiths’ series features Ruth Galloway, Head of Forensic Archaeology at North Norfolk University. It also features DCI Harry Nelson, who benefits greatly from Galloway’s help on his cases. They are the two protagonists, and both are very interesting characters. But one of the most interesting characters in this series doesn’t really get ‘top billing.’ He is Michael Malone, who goes by his Druid name of Cathbad. He and Galloway met years ago on a dig, and have now become friends. We don’t know an awful lot about Cathbad’s past, and that adds a bit of mystery to his character. But he’s interesting for more reasons than that. Cathbad is an unconventional person, even eccentric. But he is extremely knowledgeable about ancient customs in Romano-Britain, and he’s well versed in even older lore. He has a different way of looking at life to the way a lot of other people do, but that doesn’t really bother him. He is loyal to his friends (including Galloway), and he’s quite good with her young daughter Kate. He adds a layer of interest to this series.

Anthony Bidulka’s Russell Quant is a Saskatoon former cop-turned-PI who encounters all sorts of interesting people in his cases. He’s the protagonist of the series, and is a well-developed character in his own right. But some of the secondary characters who figure in the series are at least as engaging. For example, as the series begins, Quant’s neighbour is Sereena Orion Smith. She’s had all sorts of experiences, including plenty with drugs, alcohol and more than one wild party. Now she’s settled into a quieter life, and seems to be content with that. She’s got plenty of money, and as the series evolves we get to learn just a few things about her. But she is still somewhat of a mystery. She pops up in unexpected places and seems to know the most unexpected people. And although he’s curious at times, Quant never really does find out a great deal about her. What he does know though is that she’s a plain-spoken, loyal and supportive friend. She’s the kind of friend who likes Quant enough to tell him the truth, whether or not he wants to hear it. And she proves to be helpful to him in more than one of his cases.

Timothy Hallinan’s Philip ‘Poke’ Rafferty series takes place mostly in Bangkok and features Rafferty, who is an ex-pat American and a travel writer by trade. But he has also proven himself rather good at finding people who don’t want to be found. He’s also well-enough versed in Bangkok life that he can be very helpful to English-speaking foreigners who visit. He is the protagonist of the series, but he’s by no means the only strong and interesting character in it. His wife Rose is also compelling. Rose is a former bar girl who originally came from one of Thailand’s more remote villages. She has since left the bar life and now owns her own apartment cleaning company staffed by other former bar girls and prostitutes who want to leave that life. Rose is a deeper character than it may sometimes seem on the surface. She is Thai, so she sees life from that cultural point of view. In her way, she is also spiritual, and that adds to the richness of her character. Rose may not be the central character of this series, but she contributes a great deal to it.

That’s also true of attorney Zack Shreve, whom we meet in Gail Bowen’s series featuring Joanne Kilbourn (later Shreve). Joanne is the main character in this series; she’s a political scientist and academic who’s also the proud mother of three grown children and one teenager. Joanne first meets Zack in The Last Good Day, when one of his firm’s law partners dies in what looks like a suicide. The two begin a relationship and as the series progresses, they fall in love and marry. Zack proves to be a very strong character although he’s not really the main protagonist. He’s got a distinctive personality and brings his own background and viewpoint to the series. What’s more, since he’s an attorney, he also brings professional expertise (and several plot points!) to the novels.

Strong secondary characters like these can be a bit tricky to write. After all, they’re not protagonists, and perhaps they wouldn’t do well in series of their own (‘though some might). But they do add much to a series, and many readers follow them almost as avidly as they do the protagonists. Which strong secondary characters do you like best?

 

 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a Bob Dylan song.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Anthony Bidulka, Elly Griffiths, Gail Bowen, Michael Connelly, Timothy Hallinan

There’s a Light Burning in the Fireplace*

Creepy InssIf you’ve ever been on a road trip, you may know this feeling. You’ve been driving for a while, and decide to stop somewhere for the night and start looking for a place to stay. After all, you’re tired and you could use a meal and maybe some TV before bed. Then you see it: a light ahead of you beckoning you to a motel or inn where you can spend the night. Sounds warm and comforting, right? Just the ticket. Well… perhaps not. If you read enough crime fiction, then you know that there are all kinds of inns, motels and B&B’s that aren’t at all what they seem. I’ve only got space for a few examples here, but they should be enough to give you the idea.

In Agatha Christie’s Taken at the Flood (AKA There is a Tide…), a man calling himself Enoch Arden arrives at the village of Warmsley Vale. He takes a room at a local inn called The Stag and settles in. A few mornings later he’s found dead of what looks like a blow from a blunt instrument. Hercule Poirot has already gotten interested in events at Warmsley Vale and he investigates to find out who killed the victim and why. It turns out that the dead man was connected to a dispute among the members of the Cloade family over the will of patriarch Gordon Cloade. Cloade always promised his brothers Jeremy and Lionel and his sister Adela that he’d take care of the family. Then he shocked everyone by marrying a widow Rosaleen Underhay. After his tragic death in a World War II bombing incident, it came out that he’d never changed his will. Now Rosaleen is set to inherit her husband’s considerable wealth, leaving her in-laws with nothing. Before his death, ‘Enoch Arden’ hinted that Rosaleen’s first husband is still alive. If so, then her marriage to Gordon Cloade isn’t legal and she cannot inherit. Now Poirot has to sort out what’s going on in the Cloade family to find out the truth about the death. Christie wrote other stories too that are set in dangerous places to lodge (I know, I know, fans of At Bertram’s Hotel).

One of the eerier inns in fiction is Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. Mary Yellan travels to Bodmin, on the Cornish coast, to obey her mother’s deathbed wish that she join her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss at the inn they run. On the one hand, she isn’t happy about leaving the only home she’s ever known. On the other, she wants to respect her mother’s wish, and she’s looking forward to a reunion with her aunt, whom she hasn’t seen in years. Even the coachman who takes her there warns her about the inn, but Mary is determined to go ahead with her plan. At first all goes quietly enough, although it seems odd that no-one ever stays at the inn. But then Mary discovers the reason. The inn is really a cover for some sinister things going on. As she finds out more and more about what’s really happening, she also finds that she’s in great danger herself. This is one of those novels that people don’t always think of when they think about crime fiction, but at least in my opinion, it qualifies. There is plenty of crime, including murder, in the story…

In Ross Macdonald’s short story The Singing Pigeon, PI Lew Archer is heading north from the Mexican border with California. He decides to stop for the night at a seedy-looking motel called the Siesta. When he first arrives, there’s no-one at the front desk although the main door’s unlocked. After a wait, the motel’s owner finally appears and gives Archer a room. The next morning, Archer is wakened by a young woman’s screaming. He rushes out of his room to the room next door to see what’s going on, and almost immediately it’s clear that no-one is going to tell him the truth. There’s blood on the bed sheets and the young woman who screamed starts to say something about it but she’s soon hushed up. The owner, who turns out to be her father, says that one of the guests had a nosebleed. Archer is sure that the man is lying but since there is no body, there’s not much he can do. He checks out of the Siesta and drives off. Not very far away, he finds the body of a man and makes the obvious inference. He returns to the motel and little by little, he finds out the truth about the dead man and his connection to the Siesta and the family who owns it.

And then there’s the B&B featured in Roald Dahl’s short story The Landlady. Billy Weaver has just come to London from Bath to start a new job. He plans to stay at the Bell and Dragon, but as he’s on his way there, he happens to pass a small, homey-looking place with a B&B sign. On impulse, he decides to go in. He’s greeted immediately by a pleasant landlady who makes him welcome and assures him that there’s a room for him. The place is clean and comfortable, so Weaver decides to stay there instead of at the Bell and Dragon. Later, his landlady asks him to sign the guest register. As he does so, Weaver notices that two other names in the register are familiar to him. Little by little, he works out why. And by the time he does, well… this is one of Dahl’s creative crime stories. You can read it yourself right here.

Fans of Georges Simenon’s Jules Maigret will know that he often stays at inns when he and his team investigate a case. That’s what happens in Maigret and the Yellow Dog (AKA The Yellow Dog), which takes place in the village of Concarneau. In that novel, M. Mostaguen leaves the Admiral Hotel, where he’s been spending time with a group of his friends. Somewhat the worse for wear after quite a bit of drinking, he tries to light a cigar. It’s windy though, so he steps into a nearby doorway. That’s when he’s shot and badly wounded by someone who’s been lurking in the house. Maigret and his team are called in and begin to investigate. They take up temporary quarters at the Admiral and get to know M. Mostaguen’s regular group of drinking friends. On the night Maigret meets them though, someone tampers with a bottle of wine that they’re sharing, and the group comes very close to being poisoned. Now it looks as though someone is targeting the town’s leading citizens. Then, there’s a death. Now it’s clear that the detective team is up against a killer. And part of the truth about the events in Concarneau can be found right at the inn where the team is lodging…

So if you’re planning a road trip this weekend, do be careful where you stay. You never know what might be lurking behind that friendly-looking sign for the motel or inn. It might be better to book your room ahead of time online, after a thorough search of the reviews from previous guests…

 

ps. The ‘photo is of one of the more famous creepy inns in crime fiction. This is the set of the Bates Motel, which fans of Alfred Hitchcock’s films will know from Psycho.

 

 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Richard O’Brien’s Over at the Frankenstein Place.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Georges Simenon, Roald Dahl, Ross Macdonald

It’s a Light and Tumble Journey*

Wildlife SanctuariesI’ve been fortunate enough to visit animal preserves and sanctuaries on three different continents. They can be breathtakingly beautiful places, and certainly give one a perspective on a lot of things. At least they do me. And it is fascinating to see all sorts of animals that you can’t see anywhere else.

But animal preserves and sanctuaries have a dangerous side to them too. There are all sorts of political and economic issues around them, and that’s to say nothing of the animals themselves. So it’s no wonder that this setting comes up in crime fiction. Here are just a few examples; I know you can think of lots more than I could.

Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon is a US National Park Service Ranger. In that capacity, she is sent to a variety of different US parks and preserves, and she knows first-hand how dangerous those places can be. For instance, in Track of the Cat, she’s been assigned to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. There she discovers the body of a fellow ranger Sheila Drury one morning. At first, it looks as though Drury was killed by a mountain lion, and there’s the local outcry about it that you’d expect. It doesn’t help matters that the locals have never liked the fact that mountain lions living within the boundaries of the national park are off limits to hunters. They resent what they see as the damage caused by the animals and the government’s unwillingness to protect their land. Pigeon isn’t so sure that the culprit was a lion though, and she certainly doesn’t want mountain lions to become the targets of hunters. So she begins to ask questions. In the process she discovers that the victim’s death had a very human cause…

Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park, features in Vicki Delany’s Under Cold Stone. In that novel, Lucy ‘Lucky’ Smith and her partner Paul Keller (Trafalgar, British Columbia’s Chief Constable of Police) have decided to take a trip to Banff, in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Their plan is for some relaxing ‘just the two of us’ time. But that’s not how it works out. Keller’s estranged son Matt disappears. And since he’s experienced at camping and living in the outdoors, he could be anywhere and it would be very hard to find him. What’s more, he may very well be guilty of murder. Banff isn’t within the jurisdiction of Lucky’s daughter, Trafalgar Police Constable Moonlight ‘Molly’ Smith. But she travels there to be of whatever support she can to her mother. Then Matt’s girlfriend begs her to clear his name, claiming that he’s innocent. So Molly begins to ask some questions. And you thought bears, cougars and wolverines were the biggest living threats in the park…

In Michael Sears’ and Stanley Trollip’s (AKA Michael Stanley) A Carrion Death, Professor of Ecology Benani Sibisi has taken a trip to Dale’s Camp, on the verge of Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve. He’s out in the field one day when he discovers the body of an unknown man. At first it looks as though the man was killed by wild animals; certainly hyenas have already paid the body a visit. Botswana CID Assistant Superintendent David ‘Kubu’ Bengu is called to the scene and supervises sending the remains for forensics testing, mostly to try to identify the victim. Results of that testing suggest that the man was murdered. Now it’s even more important to find out who he was and what he was doing at the Reserve. So Kubu and his team begin to look more closely into the case. They find a connection between the dead man and the Botswana Cattle and Mining Company (BCMC), a powerful voice in the country’s economic and political arenas. That connection makes this case delicate, since the Botswana government has a major interest in making sure that the company remains a going concern. In the end, though, Kubu is able to find out who the dead man was and how his murder is related to events and interactions at BCMC.

Much of Michael Allan Mallory and Marilyn Victor’s Killer Instinct takes place at the Minnesota Wolf Institute (MWI), which in part functions as a preserve for wolves. Zookeeper Lavender ‘Snake’ Jones is invited to the MWI to film an episode of her television documentary series Zoofari. When she arrives, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous controversy. Her friend Gina Brown, a biologist associated with the MWI, is a passionate defender of wolves and their preservation. That pits Brown against several locals, led by Ivar Bjorkland, who want to see the wolves exterminated. In fact, they have a very public dispute about the matter when four wolves are illegally killed. Then, Bjorkland is found murdered. Jones is worried that her friend might have been involved in the killing, although she doesn’t want to think so. Then there’s another murder. And another. Now Jones has to help clear her friend’s name and stop the killer before there’s another death. Wolves are by no means the most dangerous species in this novel…

In Deon Meyer’s Blood Safari, Emma le Roux hires professional bodyguard Martin Lemmer to accompany her from Cape Town to the Lowveld to find out the truth about her missing brother Jacobus. He disappeared twenty-five years earlier in what everyone thought was a skirmish with poachers. But now Emma thinks he’s still alive. So she wants to trace his history from Kruger National Park, his last known whereabouts. She and Lemmer arrive in the area only to find out that this is much more than the case of a man who was killed by dangerous poachers. In the end, they find out that the truth about Jacobus le Roux is related to coverups, corruption and ugly realities about politics and environmentalism. Along the way, they visit more than one animal preserve, and it’s interesting to read the different perspectives and views on taking care of South Africa’s unique ecosytems while at the same time nurturing the economy.

New Zealand’s Rimutaka State Forest is the scene of some of the action in Donna Malane’s Surrender. Wellington missing person expert Diane Rowe is hired by Inspector Frank McFay to trace the identity of a ‘John Doe’ whose body has been found in the forest. There isn’t much to go on at first, but with the help of pathologist Grant ‘Smithy’ Smith, Rowe slowly learns that the man was in his twenties when he died, and that he died sometime during the early1970s. Bit by bit, Rowe puts the pieces together and finds out who the man was. At the same time, she’s on another case of her own choosing. Her sister Niki was murdered a year ago. Now, the man who claims he was paid to kill Niki has himself been murdered in the same way. Rowe believes that if she can find out who killed the ‘hit man,’ she’ll find out who’s responsible for her sister’s murder. Although the wildlife in the forest doesn’t hold the key to Niki’s death, the forest does have its role to play in the events in the story.

And that’s thing about animal preserves and sanctuaries. They can seem like peaceful places, and their natural beauty is practically unmatched. But safe? Erm – possibly not. I’ve only had space here to mention a few examples (I know, I know, fans of Ann Cleeves’ The Crow Trap and Blue Lightning). Which stories with this context have stayed in your mind?
 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Paul Simon’s At the Zoo.

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Filed under Ann Cleeves, Deon Meyer, Donna Malane, Marilyn Victor, Michael Allan Mallory, Michael Sears, Michael Stanley, Nevada Barr, Stanley Trollip, Vicki Delany

New Technology For the Crime Fiction World ;-)

KebyoardI’m always on the lookout for new technology to help make it easier and more enjoyable for crime writers to do what they do, and for crime fiction readers to enjoy good crime novels. And you know what I’ve noticed? Keyboards. That’s right, keyboards. They’re not always well-designed so that we in the crime fiction world can make the most use of them. So I’ve decided to step in and help. What you’re about to see is the new fully web-integrated CrimeNovel Keyboard! It’s custom-made for the crime writer and for the crime reader. See what you think.

 

CrimeNovel Keyboard For Crime Writers

 


CrimewriterKeyboard1

As you can see, this keyboard is custom-designed with you in mind. Just take a look. Instead of the usual function buttons, you’ll see there are buttons that are far more useful. Each of the buttons at the top of the keyboard links to a different sort of murder method, and takes the crime writer to all sorts of useful information about that method. No sense getting it wrong, is there?

Now, just take a look at some of the other buttons. You can easily click on the last scene you wrote. And who needs the ‘Caps Lock’ button when you can simply insert tense and meaningful dialogue? Just below that key is the ‘Point of View’ key, so that you can instantly change the point of view you’re using in your manuscript as you go along. And see that green check at the bottom of the keyboard? Just click and your manuscript is checked for consistency! No more characters who have two or three different names, or problems with your timeline! The button right next to it checks your manuscript against hundreds of other books to help you avoid hackneyed plots and stereotyped characters. And since it’s always important for the writer to know, at least every 5 minutes, if there’ve been any new reviews posted, there’s an easy-to-use ‘A’ button that links you to all reviews of your books.

The rest of the keyboard is just as handy.

 

CrimeWriterKeys2

The three keys at the top left allow you functionality you never imagined. You can save creative ideas for cover design, take a break now and again for a social media check or a game of Bejeweled Blitz, and even set an alarm to take you instantly back to your manuscript after 5, 10, or 15 minutes.

The next row of keys is also quite useful. No more losing those 2AM fantastic ideas! The light bulb button lets you save them with a simple voice recording. They may sound a bit garbled the next morning, but they’ll be saved. Of course….sometimes you do have to go back to the beginning of a manuscript, and the ‘Start Over’ button lets you do just that. Completely dissatisfied with your work? Just shred it and begin again! Ready to submit? There’s a handy ‘Submit’ button too.

And always with an eye to accuracy, this keyboard allows you to check legal precedent, private investigator practice and police procedures with just a few convenient pushes of a button. Couldn’t be easier!!

 

 

CrimeNovel Keyboard For Crime Fiction Readers

 

Crime fiction readers, you haven’t been forgotten! There’s now a specially-designed keyboard just for you! Have a look.

 

CrimeReaderKeyboard1

 

Instead of those old ‘function’ buttons, here are some really useful ones – instant reaction buttons! This keyboard offers the full range of review ratings, too. There’s everything from the ‘Desert Island’ button all the way to irritation and anger. Whatever your rating is, it’s here!

The buttons on the left side of the keyboard are fully optimised so that you can instantly click open the blogs you read the most, be warned when your TBR is at the maximum number you set, and copy memorable quotes from your current read. What better way to keep them for later when you’re writing your review?

At the bottom, you’ll see convenient buttons for checking your TBR, checking your book budget, and adding books to your wish list. Ready to order a book? Click the convenient purchase button! Book lovers who use other vendors can have another key substituted… for a fee…

 

A quick look at the other side of the keyboard shows you even more of what makes this such a useful little tool.

 

 

CrimeReaderKeyboard2

On the top you’ll see buttons that let you specify things such as violence level, body count, quality of characters, ‘plotholes,’ suspense level, enjoyment level and wit. Very useful to help you write those reviews! Want an author’s back catalogue? Just click the handy button and you get a complete list in order of publication (‘though not necessarily in order of translation…). There are also buttons to notify you when it’s time for a cup of your beverage of choice, or time to order in food, so you don’t have to interrupt your reading. Want to post your review immediately to your blog? There’s a button for that too! And what about those DNF books? Simply use the shredder button to create exactly the review such a book deserves.

The bottom of the keyboard allows you to send your thoughts directly to the author or submit them to public review sites. There’s even a handy alarm to remind you to go to work, take dinner out of the oven or pick your kids up from school.

You’ll quickly find that the CrimeNovel Keyboard helps you in dozens of different ways, whether you write crime fiction, read it, or both. And for those of you who use tablets? No worries – it’s going to be available very soon in a convenient app.
 

What do you think? Sound like a marketable idea? ;-)

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