Category Archives: Janice MacDonald

He Talked of Life*

Crime writers use all sorts of strategies for giving background information and clues. One of them is to use a character who tells a story. I’m not talking here of legends and myths; rather, I mean personal stories, or at least, stories of actual events. Those characters can sometimes be easily dismissed (e.g. ‘Oh, that guy? He’s always rambling about something.’). But, as any crime fiction fan knows, any story can be important…

Agatha Christie used this strategy in several of her stories. For instance, in A Caribbean Mystery, Miss Marple is staying at the Golden Palm Hotel on the Caribbean Island of St. Honoré. Courtesy of her nephew, she’s taking some time to rest and heal from a bout of illness. One day, she happens to get into a conversation with another guest, Major Palgrave. In the course of the conversation, he starts to tell her a story about a man who got away with murder more than once, and even offers to show her a picture. Then, unexpectedly, he changes the subject. There are several people around, so it’s hard to tell whose presence caused the abrupt shift. The next day, a maid finds Major Palgrave dead in his room. Then, there’s another murder. And an attempted murder. It turns out that the rather rambling story Major Palgrave was telling plays a major role in working out who the killer is and what the motive is. I see you, fans of Taken at the Flood.

In one plot thread of Tony Hillerman’s Hunting Badger, we learn of an old Ute Nation story about a man named Ironhand. According to the stories, he was almost magically able to steal Navajo sheep and escape again without being caught. On the surface of it, that seems a bit like a set of rambling myths. But, in fact, there’s truth to the story. And, when Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police hears this story from an old Ute woman, he pays attention to it. It turns out that Ironhand’s exploits are very helpful in solving the mystery of a casino robbery and an unsolved murder.

In Paddy Richardson’s Hunting Blind, we are introduced to Stephanie Anderson, who is just beginning her career as a psychiatrist. One day, she gets a new client, Elisabeth Clark. At first, Elisabeth is not open at all to the therapy process, and it’s very difficult for Stephanie to interact with her. Finally, though, Elisabeth begins to trust Stephanie. Little by little, she tells her a haunting story. Several years earlier, Elisabeth’s younger sister, Gracie, was abducted, and never found. Not even a body was recovered. Needless to say, the tragedy devastated the family and wreaked havoc on Elizabeth’s mental health. That story resonates deeply with Stephanie, who lost her own younger sister, Gemma, seventeen years earlier. In fact, the circumstances of Gemma’s disappearance are eerily similar to the story Elisabeth tells. Against her better judgement, Stephanie decides to lay her own personal ghosts to rest and find the person responsible for these abductions. So, she travels from Dunedin, where she lives and works, to her home town of Wanaka. In doing so, she finds the answers she’s been seeking.

Adrian Hyland’s Gunshot Road is the story of the murder of Albert ‘Doc’ Ozolins, a former geologist who’s been studying the area around Green Swamp Well, Northern Territory. He’s been working on some research that he thinks is significant, but even his brother hasn’t paid a lot of attention to what he says. Then, Doc is murdered. At first, it looks as though it’s the tragic end to a drunken quarrel at a nearby pub. But Aboriginal Community Police Officer (ACPO) Emily Tempest sees some evidence that suggests otherwise. As she investigates this death, she finds that the things Doc had to say are key to understanding why and by whom he was killed.

Janice MacDonald’s Another Margaret features her sleuth, sessional lecturer Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig. Years earlier, she did her master’s degree thesis on an enigmatic novelist named Margaret Ahlers. That’s how she knows that Ahlers is gone. But then, a friend tells her that a new Ahlers novel, called Seven Bird Saga, is about to be published. And Craig has the strong feeling that this isn’t a case of a manuscript stuck behind a filing cabinet or left in an attic. So, who has written the book? The closer Randy gets to the truth about that question, the more danger there is for her. Then, disaster strikes, and there’s a murder at what’s supposed to be a celebratory Homecoming weekend. Folded within this novel is the story of how Randy came to study Margaret Ahlers’ work, what happened when she did, and her search for the reclusive author. As it turns out, a key to both the current-day mystery and the original one is found in the Ahlers stories themselves.

And then there’s Apostolos Doxiadis’ Three Little Pigs. An unnamed art restorer is visiting a monastery in Switzerland, with an eye to repairing some of the frescoes in the chapel. There, he meets an old man who promises to tell him a story – ‘a good one’ – if he records it. This the art restorer agrees to do. He buys some cassettes (this part of the novel takes places in the 1970s), and the old man begins the story. It concerns the Franco family, who emigrated from Italy to the United States early in the 20th Century. The family prospered until patriarch Benvenuto ‘Ben’ killed another man in a bar fight. The dead man turned out to be the son of a notorious gangster, who then cursed the three Franco sons. The old man goes on to tell what happened to the sons, and how the curse impacted the Francos’ lives. On the surface, it sounds like an old man’s ramblings.  But it turns out to be a very important story.

There are a number of ways in which an author can use those seemingly meaningless, even rambling stories. When they’re done well, they can add interest to a novel. They can also serve as clues and can provide important information.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Jerry Jeff Walker’s Mr. Bojangles.

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Filed under Adrian McKinty, Agatha Christie, Apostolos Doxiadis, Janice MacDonald, Paddy Richardson, Tony Hillerman

The Stage is Set*

In Janice MacDonald’s The Eye of the Beholder (the 7th in her Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig series), Randy and her police-officer partner, Steve Browning, marry. It’s winter, so Randy and Steve are among large numbers of Western Canadians (they are based in Edmonton) who take off for warmer climates. Their honeymoon destination, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, is beautiful, but the newly-married bliss is soon interrupted. The body of University of Alberta student Kristen Perry has been discovered on the beach. At first, it looks as though she was simply suntanning. But it turns out that her body was deliberately posed. Since the victim was Canadian, Steve is asked to help with the investigation. Kristen didn’t really have any local connections, so he concentrates on her life in Alberta. She was studying art, so Randy uses her connections to the university’s Art Department (she is a sessional lecturer at the university) to get to know more about Kristen. In the end, we learn what the connection is between Kristen’s art background, and the way the body was posed.

In that novel, the pose of the body and the things around it are a clear clue and message. We see that in other crime fiction, too. In several novels and stories, murder scenes are contrived, or at least posed. Sometimes it’s to send a message. Other times it’s to misdirect. Either way, the position of a body can tell a lot about a crime.

For instance, in Agatha Christie’s The Hollow (AKA Murder After Hours), Harley Street Specialist Dr. John Christow is shot one Sunday during a visit to Sir Henry and Lady Lucy Angkatell. Hercule Poirot has taken a cottage nearby and is invited for lunch. When he arrives, he sees what looks like a macabre tableau arranged for his ‘amusement.’ There’s Christow’s body, there’s the murderer holding the weapon, and it all looks, in a way, artificial. But it turns out that this murder is all too real. Poirot works with Inspector Grange to find out who killed Christow and why. Along the way, we find out why the murder scene was arranged as it was.

One of the plot threads in James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential involves the murder of Sid Hudgens, chief writer for Hush Hush magazine. He’s had a secret deal with LAPD officer Jack Vincennes; he gets ‘inside dirt’ from Vincennes in exchange for a ‘consideration.’ So, when he is killed, Vincennes has a personal interest in finding the killer. Hudgens’ body, and markings on it, are posed in a way that resembles a cache of pornography that the police have discovered. That connection proves to be crucial in solving the murders of six patrons at the Nite Owl, an all-night diner.

In one plot thread of Tony Hillerman’s The Ghostway, Los Angeles Navajo Albert Gorman travels to the Big Reservation. He’s later found dead not far from the property of a kinsman named Ashie Begay, and Jim Chee, of the Navajo Tribal Police (now the Navajo Nation Police) investigates. Gorman’s body has been prepared for burial in the traditional Navajo way, but Chee notices that it hasn’t been done correctly. To him, that means that Begay, who is an observant, traditional Navajo, probably wasn’t responsible. Chee slowly finds out more about Gorman, and learns what the connection is between him and a Los Angeles auto-theft ring. And in the end, he links that death to the disappearance of another of Gorman’s kin.

In P.D. Martin’s Fan Mail, best-selling novelist Loretta Black pays a visit to the FBI’s Behavior Analysis Unit to do background research. There, she meets FBI profiler Sophie Anderson. Soon afterwards, Anderson takes a field position in Los Angeles. That’s where she learns that Loretta Black has been murdered in an eerie imitation of the murder in her latest novel. Then, another novelist is killed, also in an imitation of a murder in that writer’s work. And another disappears. Now, Anderson has to work with the LAPD to find out who has targeted these novelists and why.

And then there’s Anna Jaquieri’s The Lying Down Room. In it, Commandant Serge Morel of the Paris Police is called to the scene of a murder. The body of Isabelle Dufour has been discovered in her bed. Post-mortem findings reveal that she was drowned before she died, and placed in her bed, with extra makeup and a red wig. Then, another woman, Elisabeth Guillou,is also found dead, posed in the same way as the first victim. The two women didn’t know each other, didn’t live near each other, and had little in common other than their gender. So, it’s hard for Morel and his time to link the deaths. But he is convinced that they are connected. Once he learns what the connection is, he is able to begin the process of finding the killer and the motive.

There are a number of reasons why a body might be posed or dressed in a certain way. It might be a message, or it might be done to misdirect. Or, it might have to do with the motive. Whatever the reason, it can add to the tension and the mystery in a novel.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Albert “Al” Hamilton, Eugene Hamilton (under the pseudonym of Ronnie Savoy), and Ed Wingate’s The Whole World is a Stage. 

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Anna Jaquiery, James Ellroy, Janice MacDonald, P.D. Martin, Tony Hillerman

I’ve Got Something to Say*

One way in which authors add some ‘leaven’ to their stories is to put in side comments – sometimes even full-on asides to the reader – to add in extra information. Among other things, these side comments can also be used to lighten a situation and to provide character background. They’re there in fiction, and they’re certainly there in crime fiction.

Like any other tool, side comments have to be wielded carefully. Otherwise, they break up the narrative too much. Too many side comments can also be confusing. But when they’re used well, they can be effective.

Some authors use side comments to address the audience quite directly. That’s what John Burdett does in his Sonchai Jitplecheep novels. Sonchai is a member of the Royal Thai Police. He mostly works in Bangkok, although some cases take him to other places. More than once in this series, he gives insight into the Thai culture by speaking directly to the reader (whom he addresses as farang (foreigner)). For instance, in Bangkok Tattoo, the body of a CIA agent is found in a brothel, and the most likely suspect is one of the brothel’s top earners. Here is a comment Sonchai makes to the reader about many Bangkok sex workers:
 

‘These are country girls, tough as water buffalo, wild as swans, who can’t believe how much they can make by providing to polite, benevolent, guilt-ridden condom-conscious farang exactly the same service they would otherwise have to provide free without protection to rough, whoremongering husbands in their home villages. Good deal? Better believe it (Don’t look at me that way, farang, when you know in your heart that capitalism makes whores of all of us).’
 

Sonchai makes other comments to the reader about Buddhism, about the Thai way of doing things, and so on.

Linwood Barclay’s Zack Walker, whom we meet in Bad Move, is a science fiction writer. In that novel, he and his family move from the city to a suburban development called Valley Forest Estates. Walker thinks the move will make the family safer, but it doesn’t turn out that way. Instead, he gets involved in a case of murder, fraud, and more. At one point, he has this to say about himself:
 

‘How many assholes know they’re assholes? So I guess what I’m saying is that if I know I’ve behaved like an asshole on certain occasions, then there’s no way I could actually be one. But I’d understand if you remain unconvinced. By the time you’ve heard this story, you might say, ‘Man, that Zack Walker, he’s a major one.’’
 

It’s interesting, convoluted logic, and Walker makes other comments about the way he thinks in other parts of the story.

Sometimes, authors use the aside to give character background and offer some depth. For example, Agatha Christie does this in Murder in Mesopotamia. That novel’s focus is an archaeological expedition taking place a few hours from Baghdad. The narrator is an English nurse, Amy Leatheran, who’s been hired by the expedition’s leader, Dr. Eric Leidner. It seems his wife, Louise, is having anxiety problems, and he wants a nurse to help allay her fears and tend to her needs. Nurse Leatheran is a practical and observant nurse, and sometimes makes comments from that perspective. For example, at one point, she’s describing another character, Sheila Reilly:
 

‘I had a probationer like her under me once – a girl who worked well, I’ll admit, but whose manner always riled me.’
 

When Louise Leidner is murdered one afternoon, Hercule Popirot is persuaded to interrupt his travels in the Middle East to investigate, and he finds out the truth. The story is told from Nurse Leatheran’s point of view, and it’s interesting to see how she views Poirot.

Christopher Brookmyre’s Quite Ugly One Morning introduces Edinburgh journalist Jack Parlabane. One morning, he stumbles onto the scene of a brutal murder. It all starts when Parlabane hears a commotion in the flat below and decides to go down and see what’s going on (and hopefully get the people in the flat to be quiet). He forgets his key, though, and locks himself out of his own flat, clad only in boxers and a T-shirt. Here’s what Brookmyre tells us next:
 

‘Now, the rational course of action for any normal human being at this point would be to enlist the help of the conveniently present police in securing the services of a locksmith, or at least the services of a few standard-issue Doc Martens. But even if he hadn’t been reluctant to enter into any dialogue with Lothian and Borders’ finest, he’d probably still have seen climbing in from another flat as the easiest solution.’
 

And that’s exactly what Parlabane tries to do. But when he goes to the downstairs flat and heads for one of its windows, he’s seen by a police detective, and gets drawn into a web of murder and high-level corruption. In this case, the aside gives us some information about Parlabane, and adds some wit to the story.

In Janice McDonald’s Another Margaret, Edmonton-based sessional instructor Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig gets involved in a mystery surrounding enigmatic author Margaret Ahelers, whose work Craig studied for her master’s thesis. Craig knows that Ahlers has been gone for years. So, how has a new Ahlers novel just been released? Is this a case of forgery? Or has an unpublished manuscript been found? The mystery leads to real danger and connects with another mystery Craig encountered years ago. Craig’s partner is police detective Steve Browning, who plays an important role in this novel. At one point, they go out to dinner together. During the meal, they discuss an alumni reunion that Craig is helping to plan (she is a graduate of the University of Alberta). Browning asks if he’s invited, and Craig assures him that he’s welcome:
 

‘‘I love you, Steve Browning.’
‘Mutual, I’m sure.’
Steve drove us to his condo…and we proved it to each other. There is nothing better than feeding steak to a red-blooded Canadian man, I am just saying.’ 
 

That one-line aside is witty, and it gives the reader a quick break from the plot of the story.

Asides can serve several purposes in a story. They can be funny, they can reveal character traits, and more. But, like all tools, they are best used in moderation, so that the flow of the story isn’t interrupted. What’s your view? If you’re a writer, do you use asides? Do you have a preference when it comes to your reading?

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Reef.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Christopher Brookmyre, Janice MacDonald, John Burdett, Linwood Barclay

The Loner*

Not everyone is comfortable being around others. For a variety of reasons, some people are reclusive. Recluses are often regarded as eccentric, to say the least. And some recluses are. Even when they’re not, though, they’re often interesting people with their own unique way of looking at life.

And that can make them appealing characters in novels. Authors can use such characters to add leaven to a story, to create plot points, and more. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that we see reclusive characters in crime fiction. There are a number of them in the genre; one post won’t do justice to them. But here are a few examples.

In Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, we are introduced to Martin Canning. He is a mystery novelist who’s, in his way, much more comfortable in the imaginary world he’s created for his sleuth than in the everyday, real-life world. In that sense, he is reclusive. But he is also wise enough to know that readers want to make connections with authors. So, he allows his literary agent to persuade him to participate in a panel at the Edinburgh Arts Festival. One afternoon while he’s in Edinburgh, Canning is waiting to get tickets for a lunchtime radio comedy show. That’s when he witnesses a car accident. A blue Honda hits a silver Peugeot from behind, and the two drivers get out of their cars. During the ensuing argument, the Honda driver brandishes a bat, attacking the Peugeot driver. By instinct, Canning throws his computer case at the Honda driver, saving the other man’s life. Out of a sense of obligation, Canning accompanies the Peugeot driver, whose name is Paul Bradley, to a local hospital. That act draws the ordinarily reclusive Canning into a web of fraud and murder.

Janice MacDonald’s Another Margaret features her sleuth, Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig. As this novel begins, Craig is a sessional lecturer who’s working at Grant McEwan University in Edmonton. When her friend, Denise Wolff, asks Craig to help put together an alumni reunion event for the University of Alberta (where Craig got her M.A.), Craig agrees. Then, she learns that a new novel, Seven Bird Saga, is about to be released. The author is the extremely reclusive and enigmatic Margaret Ahlers. And that’s when Craig starts to get concerned. She did her thesis on Ahlers and knows that the author died years earlier. So, is this new book a recently-discovered manuscript (unlikely, but possible)? Or did someone else write the book? If so, who? As the story goes on, we learn more about Craig’s thesis and her search for the truth about Ahlers. As the time for the alumni even gets closer, Craig becomes more and more convinced that someone who will be attending knows more than it seems about Ahlers and the new book and could pose a real threat to her. In the end, Craig learns the truth about the new book, but not before there’s a murder.

Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip introduces readers to Mick Stranahan, former investigator for Florida’s Attorney General. He’s quite reclusive now, living on a deserted island. His life of solitude is interrupted when he happens to be out in his boat, and sees a young woman in the water, struggling with exhaustion. She is Joey Perrone, whose husband, Chaz, threw her overboard during a cruise of the Everglades. What Chaz forgot, though, is that Joey is a former champion swimmer. She’s survived in the water because of her skills, but she’s near the end of her strength. Stranahan rescues her, and Joey soon recovers. When she does, she wants to find out why her husband tried to kill her. So, she and Stranahan concoct a plan to unsettle Chaz. It works, and Chaz soon comes to the attention of police detective Karl Rolvaag, who’s trying to solve Joey’s disappearance. If he’s going to avoid arrest, Chaz is going to have to stay one step ahead of his wife and of Rolvaag.

In Deborah Johnson’s The Secret of Magic, idealistic young attorney Regina Robichard is working for the NAACP in New York City. One day, the NAACP gets a letter from a reclusive author, M.P. Calhoun. The letter alleges that a black veteran named Joe Howard Wilson was murdered, and it’s clear that Calhoun wants this death investigated. Robichard’s interest is piqued, especially since Calhoun wrote one of her best-loved books from childhood. So, she makes the trip to Revere, Mississippi, where Calhoun lives, and where the murder took place. When Robichard arrives, and starts asking questions, she learns that things aren’t as they seem. To find the answers, she’s going to have to navigate the complicated social ‘rules’ of this small town, and that isn’t going to be easy. Among other things, it’s interesting to see Calhoun’s role in the novel, considering how reclusive this author is.

And then there’s Virginia Duigan’s The Precipice. Former school principal Thea Farmer has decided to retire and have a dream home built in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. She’s purposely chosen the location to be away from everything, as she doesn’t like to be around people very much. Everything changes when bad luck and poor decision-making force her to give up that dream property and settle for the house next door, a place she calls ‘the hovel.’ To make matters worse, Frank Campbell and Ellice Carrington buy the home that Farmer still thinks of as hers, and they move in. The reclusive Farmer doesn’t want anyone living that close, especially not in that home, so she’s inclined to do everything she can to avoid these new people. That proves impossible when Campbell’s niece, Kim, comes to live with him. Against all odds, Farmer forms an awkward sort of friendship with the girl and becomes concerned when she begins to think that she’s not being given an appropriate home. When the police won’t do anything about it, Farmer makes her own plans.

There may be any number of reasons for which someone might not want to be around others. And, in a story, those reasons can make for interesting character development. They can add plot points, too. Which have stayed with you?

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Neil Young.

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Filed under Carl Hiaasen, Deborah Johnson, Janice MacDonald, Kate Atkinson, Virginia Duigan

You’re Almost Real*

A brilliant post from Brad at ahsweetmysteryblog has got me thinking about fictional writers’ fictional characters. If you think about it, t’s really not easy for an author to create a fictional character who creates a fictional character. It can be a challenge to keep the plot in focus, and to keep the cast of characters clear. But when it’s done well, it can add an interesting ‘picture within a picture’ effect to a story.

Brad’s post was about Agatha Christie’s fictional detective novelist Ariadne Oliver, whose sleuth is Sven Hjerson. And before I go on, let me strongly encourage you to read that post. You’ll be very, very glad that you did. Fans can tell you that Hjerson is Finnish. He’s a vegetarian, and a bit eccentric. In fact, Oliver gets thoroughly fed up with him. But, as she says, people like him. So, she continues to write about him. It’s true, of course, that Hjerson doesn’t solve any of Christie’s mysteries. But he’s an interesting fictional creation of one of her recurring characters.

And he’s not the only protagonist to play that sort of role. Martha Grimes’ series features Inspector Richard Jury and his friend, Melrose Plant. They’re the ones who do the investigating in the novels. But there’s another, even more fictional, character who makes an appearance in a few of the stories. In The Anodyne Necklace, we are introduced to mystery novelist Polly Praed, who lives in the village of Littlebourne. When a disappearance, a vicious attack, and a murder find their way into the village, Polly finds herself enmeshed in a real-life mystery. Her own creation is Detective Plod, who isn’t exactly the most scintillating of characters. In fact, Polly’s novels aren’t exactly compelling, either. But Melrose Plant pretends that he reads and enjoys them all. In The Old Wine Shades, he and Jury are working on the disappearance of a woman and her autistic son. At one point, Plant mentions that he hasn’t had much sleep. Jury says sarcastically,
 

‘‘I’ll bet. The coffee, the fire, the Times, the chair.’’
‘You sound like Polly’s Detective Plod. He lists things endlessly.’’ [Plant]
 

Plod may not be a fascinating character, but he exists to Polly Praed.

In Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, we are introduced to mystery novelist Martin Canning. His series isn’t a thriller-like set of novels with lots of violence and so on. Instead, he’s created a ‘50s world featuring private investigator Nina Riley, who lives in an old Victorian house in Edinburgh. In part, he writes the series in the way he does, because he would like the world to be safer and well-ordered, as he perceives it was during those years. Canning’s novels are, perhaps, quite tame, as the saying goes. But they are popular, and his agent wants him to be a part of a panel at the Edinburgh Arts Festival. Canning doesn’t want to go, but his agent insists. What neither knows at the time is that this trip to Edinburgh will draw Canning into a web of fraud and murder, and push him farther out of his safe, comfortable world than he could have imagined.

And it’s not just fictional mystery novelists who create fictional characters. Janice MacDonald’s Another Margaret, for instance, features Edmonton academic Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig. She works as a sessional lecturer, so she doesn’t have much in the way of job security. But she loves what she does, and she’s been in the field (English literature) for twenty years, since she got her M.A. As the story opens, she’s at Grant McEwan University. Then, her friend, Denise Wolff, asks her help putting together a major alumni reunion event at the University of Alberta, where Craig got her degree. Craig agrees, and the two begin to work together. That’s when she learns a piece of disturbing news. A new novel, Seven Bird Saga, is about to be published. The author is the very reclusive Margaret Ahlers, who was the subject of Craig’s M.A. thesis. And that’s how she knows that Ahlers died years ago. So, who is the author of this new novel? As the preparations for the event get underway, Craig starts looking into the mystery, and, in one major plot thread, we learn what happened twenty years earlier, when she was doing her thesis. We also learn about Ahlers’ novels, which were considered true literary achievements. Those novels feature a major character named Isabel, and as Craig follows Isabel’s story, she also learns the truth about Ahlers.

Of course, it never does to take a fictional protagonist too seriously. Just ask novelist Paul Sheldon, whom we meet in Stephen King’s Misery. He is driving through a heavy snowstorm when he has an accident in which he’s injured. He is rescued by Annie Wilkes, who happens to be a devoted fan of his work. Grateful for her help, he decides to get back to work on his latest Victorian romance manuscript, which features his main character, Misery Chastain.  At first, it seems that all will be well. But then, Annie decides she doesn’t like the way in which the story is going. She has her own ideas for how this novel should develop, and she has her own ways of wanting to ensure that it goes her way. Her devotion to Misery ends up having disastrous consequences.

And that’s the thing about fictional creations of fictional characters. When they’re done well, even they can seem entirely real. Thanks, Brad, for the inspiration! Now, please, folks, give yourselves a treat and go visit Brad’s excellent blog. Thoughtful, well-written, interesting discussions of crime fiction await you.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Hassles’ Every Step I Take (Every Move I Make). Yes, that’s Billy Joel doing lead vocals. He was a member of the Hassles before he started his solo career.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Janice MacDonald, Kate Atkinson, Martha Grimes, Stephen King