Monday, June 22, 2015

Death and Despair on a Sunny Morning

By Vicki Delany

It’s Sunday June 21 as I write this, and a pleasant summers day here in Southern Ontario, although rain is expected later.

Birds are chirping, grass is growing, flowers are blooming, pool is sparkling, and the coffee is at my elbow.

And now it’s time to plunge into a world of death and despair.

Why would I do that? And why would anyone want to read it?

Funny situation isn’t it? But all over the world, even as I speak, people are writing and other people are reading about horrible stuff.

Why? Perhaps because outside of our comfortable world of a summer Sunday morning, bad stuff is happening, and we have a compulsion to try to understand and perhaps to also try, even if only mentally, to make it right again.

This post is inspired by three things – Barbara’s talk about researching ISIS, Aline and my recent posts about unrealistic police procedures in novels, and last week’s events in Charleston.

In most (all though not all and not all the time) police novels, the officers use their substantial intelligence and sharp wits to catch the clever and diabolical (or just lucky!) bad guy. Motivation has to be excavated by investigating witnesses, the detectives hunt for clues, they follow red herrings, they examine every detail of the victims’ lives and uncover all their secrets.

In real life: not so much. In Charleston, the killer walked into a public building, not worrying about covering his face or trying to leave a false trail for the police to follow later, told one of the survivors why he’d done it, and then walked out again. He also left a “manifesto” outlining his motive. You’ll have read it elsewhere, I have no further need to go into details.

Not exactly a hard case to crack, and he was arrested not long after.

I don’t really know what my point is. Maybe as writers and as readers all we went to do is try to understand.

On a lighter note: while Barbara was researching ISIS, I have been researching historical men’s bathing suits. This is for the third Year Round Christmas mystery which is set in July, so I wanted Santa Claus to wear something suitable in my town’s Christmas in July Parade. This is what I chose.

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