I'm really fortunate today to have a guest post by Lauren Carr. She is the author of the new book Candidate For Murder.
It’s election time in Spencer, Maryland, and the race for mayor is not a pretty one. In recent years, the small resort town has become divided between the local year-round residents who have enjoyed their rural way of life and the city dwellers moving into their mansions, taking over the town council, and proceeding to turn Deep Creek Lake into a closed gate community—complete with a host of regulations for everything from speed limits to clothes lines.
When the political parties force-feed two unsavory mayoral nominees on the town residents, Police Chief David O’Callaghan decides to make a statement—by nominating Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd, to run as mayor of Spencer!
What starts out as a joke turns into a disaster when overnight Gnarly becomes the front runner—at which point his political enemies take a page straight out of Politics 101. What do you do when you’re behind in a race? Dig up dirt on the front runner, of course.
Seemingly, someone is not content to rest with simply embarrassing the front runner by publicizing his dishonorable discharge from the United States Army, but to throw in a murder for good measure. With murder on the ballot, Mac Faraday and the gang—including old friends from past cases—dive in to clear Gnarly’s name, catch a killer, and save Spencer!
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
You can learn more about Lauren and her books through the links listed below.
By Lauren Carr
One day when I was visiting my husband at our church, where he works as the administrator, a young pastor approached me. At this point, he had known me for many months, but had only just discovered that I wrote murder mysteries, which he considered quite peculiar for a middle-aged church lady.
“Do you ever kill anyone you know?” he asked with worried expression on his face.
“Of course,” I replied. “I also kill complete strangers.”
His eyes grew big and he ended the conversation.
When most people think of murder mystery writers, they envision Agatha Christie (a soft-spoke elderly woman), Richard Castle (loveable guy with a boyish-charm and a wild imagination), or maybe Sherlock Holmes (extremely intelligent gentleman with more than a touch of arrogance).
While each of these writer types may impress readers, there still remains one underlying question. Sure, they may each contain that wonderful combination of writing talent and wild imagination, but why—why use that combination to write murder mysteries?
After all, it goes without saying. Murder is the ultimate violation that one human being can inflict on another. It is a theft of one’s life. When someone commits a murder, they are ripping a mother, father, daughter, son, husband, wife out of their loved ones’ lives—an act for which there is no way to compensate the living victims.
So why would an otherwise normal person (at least I think I’m normal) use her talent writing murder mysteries? Some might think that is endorsing murder, as a writer friend told me her church group saw it.
Not really, is how I respond to that.
A mystery is a puzzle. Mystery writers love puzzles. Some love crossword puzzles. Others, like me, love jigsaw puzzles. I grew up reading mysteries—from Bobbsey Twins to Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie and Perry Mason. But I didn’t start writing murder mysteries until I was in my thirties. Until then, I wrote humor.
Murder mysteries, I told myself, took a special talent that involved creating the puzzle and taking it apart for readers to solve. I didn’t think I could be clever enough to do that. But then, after reading mystery after mystery in which I solved the cases way too early, I realized I needed more of a challenge. Like a crossword puzzle fan who finds that the challenge is gone, I needed to exercise my brain by taking the challenge up a notch.
It was time to create my own mystery.
In books falling into the mystery genre, a detective or amateur sleuth works through the clues (puzzle pieces) to piece together the crime in order to reveal the culprit. When the crime is murder, then they are looking for the identity of the killer.
The next question might be: Why write murder mysteries?
Because murder is the ultimate crime that one can perpetrate on another human being. That makes it the ultimate puzzle—failure to solve the puzzle means the killer goes free. A murder mystery is not like a jigsaw puzzle in which you throw up your hands and dump the pieces back into the box if you can’t finish it. Failure to complete the puzzle is not an option.
While there are some murder mysteries in which the killer is allowed to escape to challenge the detective another day, many murder mystery writers, like me, create a world between the pages where the killer is always held accountable for his or her crimes.
Wrong has be righted.
Justice prevails.All is right with the world, which is something that murder mystery writers can’t get from a crossword puzzle.
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