Back to the reviews, and I realize that today is Tuesday, but yesterday was Labor Day in the United States, so I finished up my writing vacation.
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How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson is one of my to-go to books both for ideas as well as information. Quite honestly, it's pack full of interesting tidbits that help guide the new writer. Added to the notes Emerson has, she's interviewed many of the big names in historical murder mystery including one of my favorites, Elizabeth Peters, author of the Amelia Peabody series.
The book divides itself up into chapters focusing the writer's attention to details needed to create novels. Details, I might add, most of us might not consider such as love life and occupation. Now, granted, we do consider those elements: is a character married, single, widowed or separated? What is the main character's occupation? For us, these are simple answers depending upon the character development.
Yet, we must remember that cops, detectives and many other careers didn't exist. Some, as the book points out, can be manipulated. For example, a private investigator might work directly for nobleman and become a solver of riddles. In many time periods, the military acted as a police force.
For me, one of the best sections focused upon women, and some of the occupations they could have practiced. For most of human history, women have not had the freedoms men have enjoyed. In fact, in some cases, women are confined to small areas. It is often the case that the wealthier one was the more restrictions applied. Unless one had a liberal husband or father, women could find themselves in uncomfortable limitations.
The book provides you with a good overview for writing mysteries. The insights from other writers, and their suggestions help guide you through the development process. All in all, I recommend this book for anyone wanting to write an historical mystery novel or series.