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

Locked Room/Island- Ideas?
Daniel Ewen - 03:38am May 18, 1998 PST
Guest User

I'm trying to write a mystery on an isolated island. Seven folks are on the island. Where could I get a few clue ideas. I'm thinking of murders that mirror famous movie killings, a la the Psycho shower stabbing. What clues might be left from such murders? The crime must be solved without any lab. Clues, clues, clues!

JDough - 09:06am May 19, 1998 PST(#1 of 11)

Well, Daniel, that's the whole problem isn't it? My suggestion is write up a little profile of all the characters on your island. Then draw a little sketch of the island and where everyone is located. Pick out a killer and a victim. Now plan the murder and write it up. While you're writing ask yourself questions like, what time of day was it (dark, light, etc.), what's the weather like? (is it clear and sunny, hot, raining--this might affect whether items found are wet or dry, footprints, etc.), time of year? (winter--snow, etc.), what clothes are worn. As you make these decisions your choice of answers will help you to create possible "clues" for planting at various places when you write the mystery. Without lab work, you're story will depend mostly on who was where when, verifying alibis, etc. Read Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. Good luck. --JB

Alex Dent - 09:32am May 20, 1998 PST(#2 of 11)

I think you might be able to use the lack of lab to your advntage. Remeber if you have a lab then a lot of things little things become very important - like bloodstains on clothes - but if you don't have a lab than you could add an extra element of suspense because you're never entirely sure whose blood it is.


Andreas Hager - 09:13am Jun 11, 1998 PST(#3 of 11)

Daniel- Try reading the journals of Roger Shallot (there are about five novels) by Michael Clynes (he's written under names like PC Doherty and CL Grace). These have some great locked room mysteries set in the reign of King Henry VIII, with some ideas that you could probably put into your island. Another simular short story is The Adventure of the Seven Black Cats by Ellery Queen (something like that) also has some ofthe same ideas.-Andreas

Steven Jones - 03:23pm Jun 11, 1998 PST(#4 of 11)

What about using the murder of the pedophile in 'Primal Fear'?

Mark J Tilford - 01:10am Jun 12, 1998 PST(#5 of 11)
A Freak among freaks

If you're interested in locked rooms, read John D Carr / Carter D., specifically _The Three Coffins_. Even more specifically, the chapter "The Locked Room Lecture", which discusses all the ways of creating an apparrently imposssible crime.



Maryann - 05:35am Jul 8, 1998 PST(#6 of 11)

You could leave a word or two written in the sand near each victim, maybe something pertaining to certain classic mysteries, by the time they figure out what it all means it could vbe almost too late. I agree about reading Ten Little Indians, you might get some great ideas!

Rebekah Meeds - 09:34pm Aug 5, 1998 PST(#7 of 11)

Daniel, I agree that reading classic mysteries can be a great source of help. If you want your murders to resemble those of classic movies. I would advise studying those movies, and to jot down notes about the crimes themselves, and then shape your own crimes around them

Gervase Charmley - 07:52am Oct 17, 1998 PST(#8 of 11)

Further to places to look. Try Leslie Chateris' book 'Alias The Saint' and the story entitled 'The impossible crime' I defy you to solve it before Charteris gives you the answer.

Hugh Drummond - 07:27am Nov 7, 1998 PST(#9 of 11)
" I have a criminal mind... I see bad in everyone," (Mr. J.G. Reeder)

Mr. Charmley, how could you? I say this. Unless you know the KILLER inside-out, as well as the detective, you'll get no-where. It's often said that the detective in fiction is just the writer in disguise as a character. As far as I'm concerned, one must, like Father Brown, also be the murderer.


Hugh Drummond - 07:30am Nov 7, 1998 PST(#10 of 11)
" I have a criminal mind... I see bad in everyone," (Mr. J.G. Reeder)

Oh, clues? Well, sometimes the very method is a clue. Did they use brute force or trickey? Is there anything about the method which means a certain person can't have done it? A man who was in the army can use a gun or a knife much better than a civilian. There are certain techniques which only a man who has been in India would know... and so on.


mary chrostowski - 07:24am Jun 28, 2000 PST(#11 of 11)

I have the neice coming home for the summer to write the family outobiogerphy and her Aunt doesn't want her to write it. why? What will the neice find out about the family that the aunt is hidding? I need so ideas can you help???

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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Elements of a Mystery  / Locked Room/Island- Ideas?

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