"Nothing was more shocking than murder, yet the traditional structure of crime fiction provided a way of examining the subject with distance and grace."
from "The Glass Room: A Vera Stanhope Mystery" by Ann Cleeves
I look for meaning. Not everyone needs to search for why things happen but I am attracted to asking why and then finding meaning for the event. How did a life event change people? What did it bring to light? I believe that is why I read murder mysteries and watch them on television. Right now I'm reading The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves. Her storyline fits perfectly into what I've been doing lately, not committing murder, of course. Set in Northumberland, England, Vera Stanhope is looking for her neighbor who's gone missing and finds her at a writers seminar in a remote rural area, not far from home. She walks into a crime scene. One of the visiting tutors, a published author, has just been found murdered.
With this plot, Ann Cleeves can make commentary about writers through the eyes of detectives, who perhaps hardly read fiction, and she can make commentary through the eyes of writers about themselves. It is just a wonderful story.
I chose to write a murder mystery to explore the inner lives of musicians. By having one of my detectives trained as a classical pianist and her partner unfamiliar with that world, I get to muck about exposing biases about a elite world.
The quote below really made me chuckle. Cleeves is talking about the expensive and exclusive seminar where the murder took place.
"Maybe it had occurred to prospective visitors that they could stay at home and write and it would cost them nothing."
Of course writing period, is the goal, but if you can write alongside other writers and stroke each other's back the motivation is greatly increased. And so it is with musicians. Hanging out with talented musicians fires up the desire to practice and improve. How bad is that?
There is still time to read my novel about a pianist and teacher who finds a Liszt autograph manuscript and ends up dead. Who killed her to get the treasure? The mysterious student who comes from out of town to study with her? The colleague from Hungary who wants the manuscript more than anything?
My novel Rubato
A story of a woman's longing for beauty and her struggle to keep the beautiful even when it didn't belong to her.