Books About the Mystery
Full Disclosure: Im not a big fan of historical mystery novels.
Too often Ive found that authors let their considerable research and historical detail overwhelm the plot. (Historical short stories seem to work better for me.) Having said that, I also can say that Kathy Lynn Emerson's How To Write Killer Historical Mysteries from Perseverance Press is the best book about writing mysteries that I have ever read. Even if not read as a how-to book, it is a splendid I introduction to this sub-genre of the mystery, at all times informative and lively reading.
There is a list of more than 60 historical series, and Emerson has included most of the best. If other writers in this field were to pay attention to her, I might find more good reading. Her book is full of examples from the best historical fiction writing and replete with suggestions.
She tells how to avoid that turn-off: anachronisms. I m not the only one to criticize them in my reviews. Such better known reviewers as Jon L. Breen and Marilyn Stasio have also complained. She also makes a very appropriate suggestion for writers to be willing, difficult though it may be, to scrap some of their research and not use material that does not move the story forward. Finally, she is
eminently practical with many suggestions on how to get published and not by a vanity press. If you want to write historical mysteries, buying this $14.95 book will be the best investment you could make.
Marv Lachtman, Deadly Pleasures
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- How To Write Killer Historical Mysteries
Kathy Lynn Emerson
224 pages, trade paperback original, $14.95
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