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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Elements of a Mystery  /

A Murder Again After 60 Years - Any Ideas?
Hello all!

First, let me say I absolutely adore all of you! This place is great! Perfect for people like us with strange fixations ;)

Ok, to my problem. I started writing a murder mystery that has a time-twist. That's to say, the actual murder takes place in the 1940's, but until my heroine inherits a house and discovers the remains of the bodies approx. 2003-2004, no one has even known there's been a crime. It was a crime of passion, two people killed, a young woman and a young man.

As my home-baked sleuth starts to look into this crime, and finds out a little too much, someone tries to get rid of her.

I think I know who did the murders back in the forties, but she's an old lady by now, and I don't think she's in any condition (mentally or physically) to carry on murdering people. So who the heck is this person who's after my heroine for finding out too much? Who is he/she, and why is he/she doing this?

Any ideas, thoughts, or comments will be greatly appreciated.


David Lyttle - 07:31pm Jan 26, 2004 PST(#1 of 9)

I'm working on a similar idea where a black man in 2004 finds a burned-out bus hidden in an old garage. The bus carried a group of freedom riders who disappeared back in the sixties. They were presumed to have been murdered but no one was ever convicted of the crime. As the Black man digs into the mystery he becomes the target of attempted murder. My solution is to have the son of the killer behind the present-day killings to protect his father who actually killed the freedom riders with a bunch of his KKK buddies. The old man is the last survivor but he is in his eighties and like your killer is in no condition to be much of a threat. You could have a daughter, son, niece or nephew, or even an unrelated student who admired your killer and would do anything to save her. There is an old Star Trek episode. "The Conscience of the King" wherein the daughter of a mad man inherits his madness and kills to protect her father. So it's an old idea but I think there is a lot of mileage left in it.

Beeker The Hopeful Writer - 01:36am Jan 27, 2004 PST(#2 of 9)

Hi David!

Great idea, I came up with a bunch of possible motivations already :)

Thank you!


sandi hyk - 01:51pm May 18, 2004 PST(#3 of 9)

I realize I am alittle late since this is May and your book is probably finished. But I too am writing a mystery with a murder now but motivated by an event that happened almost 60 years before. What is that old line about sins of their fathers carry long shadows or something like that. Given the right circumstances I wonder how far I would go to not let the world know something terrible my loved ones did even along time ago.

Ellis Hackler - 01:35pm May 30, 2004 PST(#4 of 9)

Hello friends of mysteries, I'm new to this site, and new to mystery writing. I am creating a story of a stumble-bum, ner-do-well who sent into a detective mag. for a private dick course, and subsequently accitdently stumbles into a murder while on a simple survellance job. A maid is killed in the mansion where she worked and our half-baked hero solves an even bigger case when he accidently gets involved in the crime investigation scene of her murder. Any ideas where I can go to get plot info? I think I have a good start, but I don't really know where I'm going with the story. Thanks, Newcomer Hackler

Whispering Statue - 11:59pm Jun 23, 2005 PST(#5 of 9)

Beeker: Instead of a crime of passion, why not a politically motivated crime?

Say, the deceased (and not necessarily your young man and woman) were opposed to some local politician and got snuffed for his trouble. Have a look at Huey Long in Louisiana; he was a colorful character, to say the least.

So, say Huey was billing The People for government contracts. The deceased, who worked on Huey's staff as a low level assistant, was sent to check something out.

The deceased finds a certain set of circumstances BUT Huey announces another set of circumstances for which he is going to divert tons of tax dollars. When the deceased threatens to whistleblow, he gets dead for his trouble.

You can make up any town with any local government (which would probably be the better idea, lol, in any event) and have all sorts of wrong doing in the process.

The problem with a crime of passion is that it only matters to a small circle of people. When you have governmental intrigue, it has a wider application.

Just some thoughts. I hope your book goes well.

Whispering Statue - 12:07am Jun 24, 2005 PST(#6 of 9)

Sorry, I forgot to tie this in to today:

So, now your homebaked sleuth finds the body or bodies in the house. (Maybe the young assistant was married or engaged or the female body was a secretary in Huey's office who sided with the young whistleblower.) The question now becomes, who wants to snuff the sleuth? How about somebody from the local government who doesn't want the scam of the diverted funds to come out because these county or state projects are STILL being funded and the guys controlling the project don't want the money turned off. Greed is always a good motivator for murder...

Good luck!

andy watt - 10:24am Jul 5, 2005 PST(#7 of 9)

hi i started writing a mystery except the suspect is a bit to obvious how can i make the murder less obvious without changing murder [murder cuz of pregnent gal]

The Londoner - 06:26pm Jun 24, 2006 PST(#8 of 9)

I am most definately late in responding, but I have something to say so I advice that you listen. I am more-or-less well known, locally, that is, as a damn fine mystery writer. I think it is possible to make this sixty-year mystery come alive (or dead, as some writers prefer) by gently tweeking the plot. Don't make an old lady the killer, but make the killer a garden store owner in town. He would be old but still fit enough to attempt to take out a sleuth. And if you must stick with the old woman I recommed that you have her son try to protect her. He knows of his mother's crimes and he knows the sleuth is close to discovering something so he stoops to villainy to protect his grey-haired ma-ma.

Fran Hinkel - 05:59am Sep 14, 2006 PST(#9 of 9)
You can check out anytime you like...but you can never leave!

Good advice, Londoner.

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Elements of a Mystery  / A Murder Again After 60 Years - Any Ideas?

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