Enjoying the summer
Welcome to Opening a Mystery, the August 2022 version. I hope you have a cool drink and a sea breeze to enjoy. I have some suggestions for mystery reading in August,
It’s funny how people don’t talk about being excited about the coming of August. Instead, we look at it as when school is about to start. How can we get one more vacation in before fall? And I’ve found that it doesn’t matter if the family has school kids or not.
But, living in South Carolina, I’m on to the sneakiness of August. By making us look beyond it to fall, it leads us to think cool weather is coming, right?
Not so fast. August is just as blazing as the rest of summer. And September usually slips in a surprise week of Indian summer.
Hopefully, this year it won’t be as hot as July, but don’t let it fool you. Summer never leaves without overstaying its welcome.
Lately, I’ve found some very interesting posts on some of my favorite websites.
First, over on Novel Suspects, Tess Gerritsen talks about her writing process, where she finds inspiration, and how she feels about her latest project of co-authoring a book with Gary Braver. Continue reading
The locked room mysteries, also known as the impossible crime or closed-circle mystery, is not really a genre. But the popularity of this type oif story can’t be argued. As the name implies, the crime, usually a murder but can be a robbery, occurred in a room that is found locked or otherwise sealed.
A Locked Room Mystery
One of the earliest examples of the locked room mysteries is The Murders in the Rue Morgue, by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin and the unnamed narrator became interested in a newspaper story of a lady and her daughter who the authorities found dead in their fourth story room. The mother had many broken bones and her head fell off when they moved the body, while someone strangled the daughter and stuffed her up the chimney. The officials found the room locked from the inside, meaning the key would be inside the room. I will let you discover how Edgar handled this on your own. Continue reading
Terry (Tess) Gerritsen knew she wanted to write when she was a little girl growing up in San Diego, California. With a Chinese immigrant and a Chinese-American seafood chef as parents, she dreamed of writing her own Nancy Drew stories. According to an interview in the July 15, 2021, New York Times, Tess thought Nancy Drew had everything a seven-year-old girl could want; she was clever, fearless, and she drove her own car.
But like many parents, hers had a different idea for their little girl. They were worried about how someone could make enough money writing. Sounds like common concern.
So Gerritsen put off her writing and went to college. First, she went to Stanford University to study anthropology. Then she went on to study medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where she graduated in 1979 to become an internist. She started practicing medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Beginning of a Dream
It was when she read “The Woman Warrior”, by Maxine Hong Kingston, that she realized Continue reading
“Just the facts, Ma’am.” Joe Friday delivered this line in his flat, robotic tone every week on the TV series, Dragnet. Dragnet aired two different times, once from 1951-1959 and then in 1967-1970. Detective Joe Friday of the Los Angeles Police Department was played by Jack Webb, who was also the producer.
Dragnet, and the similar show Adam-12, are great examples of one of the more popular genres in mystery, the police procedural. These books and shows centered on the work of the police, usually focusing on one individual but highlighting more their time on the job and working with others in the department than on the person’s personal life. It is the life and environment of a police officer that the reader is interested in, rather than an individual. Although how much this is carried out varied with the series.
Although cop shows have been common on TV, even today, I want to focus on the novels and their authors. Continue reading