Monday, March 23, 2015

What I Learned About Murder in Portland!

At  "Left Coast Crime", everyone talks about murder. Murder is our forté-- as authors, that is! Experts converse about the best weapons to use, how to get away with a crime, how blood spatters speak for the dead, or how to spot a psychopath, much like one would discuss what to feed your baby or the best way to shampoo a dog.

The topic of murder is not for the squeamish, nor is the conversation reserved for sinners and evil doers! It seems everyone from Aunt Louise, to Uncle Charlie, (and his mother) love a good murder mystery! And what does a good story entail? A dead body on the first page? A villain who thinks he can outsmart the protagonist? And what do we love about our hero/heroine? He/she must be one heck of a detective, with flaws of course, the more the better.

I was privileged to moderate a paranormal panel, hosting authors who incur a problem or two with characters who are immortal-- or ghosts!  How do you kill someone who is a mere three-hundred years old? Or already dead? What about the hedge witch who must come up with one heck of a spell to solve a murder? Challenging to say the least.

And why are we so enamored by death? Perhaps reading murder mysteries allow us to imagine both sides of the coin-- victim, and perpetrator. Could it be we "work-out" our own mortality through fiction? Or does immersing ourselves in murderous prose neutralize lurking thoughts we have about our boss, or the nasty neighbor next door? One can only guess.

I met talented authors, dedicated to their craft, and learned new tricks for my arsenal, but the most memorable thing I learned in Portland about murder is-- too many "Voo-doo" doughnuts will kill you! But what a way to die!

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