Friday, April 28, 2017

Serial Killers Begone

The Beautiful Lizzie Borden

Fractured Families required a serial killer. It was necessary for the plot. The murders were too bizarre to have been committed by a person of ordinary sensibility. I did a lot of research on this subject and know more about truly evil people than is good for me.

My editor asked if she should use the word "sociopath" or "psychopath" in flap copy. Actually the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which is the psychologist's bible, called this kind of deviance "psychopath" until 1958, then the term switched to "sociopath." After 1968,  information was classified under the heading of Anti-Social Personality Disorder.

For publicity purposes, we settled on using the word "psychopath" because the term is more familiar.

My home state of Kansas has had its fair share of serial killers. Lizzie Borden was famous, of course, and so were the Bloody Benders.

Graves of victims of the Bloody Benders

However accurate historically, It seems as though serial killers have been done to death in mysteries. I'm happy that my current work-in-progress won't need this kind of individual. The classic motivations of greed, love, and revenge have stronger characterization.

Recently I listened to an old, old book (1830s) The Count of Monte Cristo, on an audio recording. Narrated by John Lee it was the one of the best narrations I've ever heard. A classic tale of revenge, it held my interest for hours.

I think betrayal and revenge is are two motivations that are universal.


Rick Blechta said...

Okay, Charlotte, you can't leave us hanging on this!

Tell us the story of the Bloody Benders.

Pretty please?

Irene Bennett Brown said...

Rick is definitely not from Kansas if he doesn't know about the Bloody Benders. Take it away, Charlotte.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Ah, Rick and Irene. That is definitely material for a whole 'nother blog. In fact, the role call of Kansas murders is quite amazing.

Sybil Johnson said...

I haven't heard of those Bloody Benders either. Do a post on them please.

Eileen Goudge said...

I'm curious about the Bloody Benders, too. The name alone give me chills. Do tell.

Charlotte Hinger said...

OK. They really were a wicked evil family.