Guide to Writing the Mystery Novel: Lots of Examples, Plus Dead Bodies, is aimed at those who are contemplating writing a mystery novel and those who have written one or two but are looking for fresh insights on how to think like a mystery writer. In it the author draws on her years of experience as a mystery reader, a mystery writer, and a writing teacher. The book illustrates the author’s points with numerous examples from her mysteries, as well as with charts, graphs, and diagrams that show how much or how little is called for in the way of planted clues, exposition, and presence of a minor-character villain, for example. An index serves as an additional aid for those who want to seriously pursue advice on any particular topic such as dialogue, foreshadowing, or casting suspicion on the innocent.
I have always been interested in the differences between novels written from various points of view. Thus, I got a lot out of the discussion of first person POV and third person POV and the advantages and disadvantages of each. The author not only discusses a variety of topics related to writing a mystery, but also addresses why these steps are useful. Some of these that were interesting to me were: Subplots, Plot Complications, Timelines, When to Introduce the Villain, Foreshadowing, Dialogue, Solution and Denouement, Outlining, and Rewriting.
In addition to the wealth of information, I found the author's style of writing to be accessible and easy to follow.
The author's website provides information on her fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. The author's two mystery novels are Dirty Proof (1988) and Sound Proof (2011). Gregorich has a strong interest in baseball, and has written both fiction and nonfiction books on that topic, including Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball.
See other useful reviews at: Windy City Reviews, San Francisco Book Review, and Julia Buckley's blog, Mysterious Musings.
Publisher: CreateSpace, 2014
Length: 207 pages
Format: Trade paperback
Source: The author provided a copy for review.