Mystery Net Community Writing Mysteries Elements of a Mystery
I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I'll give it a try. My name is Freddy and I'm a filmmaker from Tel Aviv. I really enjoy murder mysteries, yet my mystery education is quite poor - a few Christie, a few Doyle, a few classics, and that's about it. That doesn't stop from wanting to write a mystery script, though. I want to make a film about a murder mystery that takes place in a mentally retarded sanatorium. The general idea is this: a few decades ago all the workers of a countryside mentally retarded sanatorium go home for the holidays, leaving the manager, a kind and aging woman, alone with the inhabitants for a week. The next morning she turns up dead. What are the mentally retarded inhabitants to do? One of them killed her, they know. The workers aren't supposed to get back till next week. They are left for their own devices. Here the film splits into two: first, one of the inhabitants, influenced by detective stories he vaguely knows, initiates an investigation. This is difficult: both the detective and the suspects are feeble minds, sometimes acting not rationally. He attempts to fight is own disadvantage and find the murderer. In the meantime, the inhabitants try to live on their own, to govern themselves. They have never been left alone: one of the inhabitants convinces the others that they don't need anyone to take care of them, that they can take care of themselves, and tries to create something like a new regime, communal and monarchic at the same time. As the chaos at the asylum gets our of control, the murder plot thickens. Even though it might sound like a farce, I don't think of it as a comedy or a parody of the mystery tradition. I think it's a an interesting setting: a detective lacking in skill, whose mind is weak and cluttered; and suspects who are themselves lacking in wits. It's like a mystery story gone wrong, in many senses. The rebellion side of the story, in which the inhabitants try to create their own society, is interesting in itself: I know this isn't a film forum, but it's like a homage to German director Werner Herzog's film 'even dwarfs started small', which tells of a rebellion in an asylum for mentally retarded dwarfs. It's not a comedy: it's a poetic and disturbing film. Now, I might have asked some of you for a classic mystery that takes place in an institution, but but referred only to mysteries that take place in insane asylums, which is different. I don't even know where to start with, thinking about the murder mystery here: it should be fairly simple, I think. I can't even think of possible motives! It's a real challenge: it can't be about money, it can't really be about love (maybe I'm wrong here), and it can't really be about revenge either. Tricky and problematic. So what I wanted to ask you is this: first, do you know of any relevant mysteries I should read and perhaps adapt? Second, is there any writer in this forum, experienced in writing murder mysteries, who'd be willing to write this with me?
I should add a few words about myself: This is to be my first feature film. My last two shorts have screened extensively around the world, including the Cannes film festival, San Sebastian film festival, and many others.
Mystery Net Community Writing Mysteries Elements of a Mystery The murder at the Asylum
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