As a crime writer, I get to kill people on a regular basis.
And it’s so much fun! Here’s why…
1. I can kill them in my pjs if I want. If I fancy killing my victim in my pyjamas, I can (and often do). Very few murderers get to commit their heinous crimes while in their nightwear. Think about it. Normally, you have to dress appropriately. If you intend to rid the world of your victim at a posh do, you need to spend ages getting ready to make sure you don’t stand out. At the other end of the spectrum, if your victim lives in a dangerous slum area you may need to wear clothing you’d frankly rather not be seen dead in!
2. I can kill them when I want. If your victim is surrounded by people all day, the only answer is to stay up until some ungodly hour and then murder them with no one around. Assuming, that is you can stay awake long enough to get the job done. And it’s no use cursing because your favourite TV show is on when it’s also the only time your victim is walking home alone at night through those deserted woods (don’t they read crime novels?).
3. I can kill them where I want. Okay, murdering someone when they’re alone at night in the woods has been done to death in crime books. However, especially if you’re a novice murderer, what else are you going to do? It’s a tried and trusted method. You can get inventive and fancy later on when you’ve got a few under your belt. Me, I can kill someone in a disused quarry (A Very English Murder), at a fancy ball (Death At The Dance) or even on a fun run, (Death In The Snow).
4. I can kill them how I want. If you’ve ever read any of the Golden Age crime writers - Christie, Sayers, Marsh etc -you’ll know they murder their victims in the most elaborate way possible. And that’s half the fun! I’ve killed my victims off with obscure poisons, (Murder In The Snow), allergens (Death At The Dance) and even chloroform-induced fatal falls, (Mystery By The Sea). If you’re a real murderer, your choice is usually between a hard, blunt instrument, a knife or a gun. How pedestrian!
5. I can kill who I want. In the real world, a murderer either has to kill someone out of necessity or insanity. If their victim was blackmailing them or their death meant they would inherit a fortune, that’s necessity. If it just happened to be a Monday and their victim was totally unknown to them, that’s insanity. I can kill anyone, so long as I can justify it at the end. The paperboy for waking me up (us writers need our layins), the **** who cut me up earlier today, or even the nice old lady who stopped to pat Hovis yesterday, (Hovis is my pet poodle - it’s a long story).
6. I can kill without worry. In today’s modern world murdering people is just one long headache. Stress is a real killer among murderers having to contend with state-of-the-art forensic techniques and advanced police data gathering and sharing systems. My books are set in the 1920s when fingerprinting was in its infancy, blood type identification practically unknown and the police forces were more interested in rivalry than cooperation.
7. I can kill without conscience. It’s a sad indictment that nowadays murderers often have a conscience. They often regret their evil deed after it’s done. (No point crying over spilt milk was always my mother’s motto). In my books, however, I need have no conscience at all. Even that nice old lady may end up being a victim in one of my next books (that **** who cut me up is definitely going to be). In fact, in Murder At The Fair, the victim is a character I really liked from a previous book (Murder In The Snow). Sadly, necessity is the mother of murder, and I needed a good victim and he fitted the bill, so R.I.P. Solemn Jon.
So, what’s the one reason killing people isn’t fun?
Once I’ve killed who I want, when I want, where I want, how I want without worry or conscience, I have to send the first draft of the book to my editor who points out that my readers aren’t interested in what I think is fun and promptly tells me to stop being such a spoilt prima donna and rewrite it.
And that’s no fun at all :)
Murder at the Fair by Verity Bright published by Bookoutre (Out Now)
Summer flowers, warm sunshine, a maypole dance and… is that another murder? A tricky case is afoot for Lady Swift!. Summer, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift, the best amateur sleuth in the country, is delighted to be in charge of the prize-giving at her village summer fair. But the traditional homemade raft race takes a tragic turn when the local undertaker, Solemn Jon, turns up dead amongst the ducks. Jon was the life of any party and loved by the entire village. Surely this was simply an awful accident? But when a spiteful obituary is printed in the local paper, Eleanor realises there may be more to Jon’s death than first thought. Despite handsome Detective Seldon giving her strict instructions not to interfere, Eleanor owes it to Jon’s good name to root out the truth. So with her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog, Eleanor starts digging for clues. When another local dies in a riding accident, the police refuse to believe he was murdered. But a second vindictive death notice convinces Eleanor of foul play. Solemn Jon’s assistant, a bullish banker and a majestic marquess make her suspect list, but it isn’t until she finds a dusty old photograph that she knows the true culprit behind both crimes. Then another obituary appears – her own! Can Eleanor nail the killer before she too turns up dead among the ducks?