Now this is a take on murder mysteries I’d never considered. Today author Robert Stewart gives his perspective on writing funny murder mysteries.
Is this author Robert Stewart’s photo? He assures us it is. It looks like Bob is in a hurry to get back to writing his next book.
Robert says: To me, the more obvious question is, why do people take mysteries seriously? All art forms are based on conventions. But is there any other form with conventions as ridiculous as those of the mystery novel?
The crimes involved are always far more complex than actual crimes, sometimes by several orders of magnitude. They regularly involve obscure poisons, lost wills, and secret pasts, but almost never an argument over the TV’s remote control.
Many of the British Golden Age writers seemed aware of the contradiction and played into it. For example, Agatha Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage presents a seemingly impossible murder recounted by an absent-minded vicar who’s constantly distracted by his much younger wife. It’s solved by a little old lady down the lane named Miss Marple. And the solution involves an implausible Rube Goldberg-like device planted in the nearby woods.
Writers like Christie were criticized by Raymond Chandler for their silly conventions, and then he staked out his own, far sillier conventions. His depiction of his ideal hero is a priceless piece of self-parody:
…down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor—by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it.
Now that is funny!
Buy links: Amazon http://smarturl.it/charm-amazon
Bob’s web address: http://www.streetcarmysteries.com/
What’s your prespective on murder mysteries? Do you agree with Bob? We’d love to hear what you have to say.
Bob’s book is part of the boxed set.