Six things you should know about writing a murder mystery

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Having moved into the realm of crime fiction, I thought I’d put down a few things that made plotting A Cowardice of Crows easier than it could have been. Because – to be honest – murder is harder to keep an eye on than time travel…


  1. Work backwards.  I.E know how it was done, who did it,  where and  why and then seed the rest of the story from there. I  wrote the reveal before the last few chapters, as I needed to work out exactly who did what to whom.
  2. Let the audience work it out for themselves/ or give them the opportunity to realise who the murderer has to be. Even if they don’t get it  at the same time as the detective, they should be able to go AHH not omfg. I tried to make one of my murderers obvious, and the other less so… hopefully it’s worked.
  3. Ensure you have clues – subtly worked into the story. These clues can be red herrings. In Crows the red herrings went in before the real clues.
  4. Ensure you have a flawed detective. They have to be very intelligent, very eccentric and the murderer has to underestimate them. Byrd’s flaw is … ahh now, that would be telling; let’s just say he’s got an eye for a pretty face.
  5. Every good detective needs a side kick. Solid reliable, dependable and all the things our hero is not. In Sampson Byrd has loyalty and in his cousin he has solidity. Both the perfect foils to Byrd’s whimsical nature.
  6. Oh and of course! Suspects! You’ve got to have suspectgillards-bloody-dagger1


Not met  Byrd yet? click here to go to amazon and see if I’ve taken my own advice


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