I love reading and writing in all genres. I’ve taught creative writing to high schoolers and adults, and I’ve rarely met a story or a writer that I didn’t enjoy getting to know, but when it comes to writing novels of my own, I choose to write mysteries. I could tell you the reasons have to do with suspense and tension, tight plots, clues, character motivations, themes of good vs. evil, or other such elements, but the truth is simpler.
I love mysteries, because in no other genre is the connection between reader and writer so vivid. When an author lays out a mystery, she is ever-mindful of the reader. She unfolds the crime and investigation clue by clue, scene by scene, in a sometimes tortuous path toward solution. She hopes that the reader is traveling along the path, enjoying the adventure every step of the way. If she plants a clue in one chapter, will the thoughtful reader recall it in a subsequent chapter? Will the red herrings be identified as such? The author hopes to strike the perfect balance between foreshadowing and surprise, so the reader is captivated and delighted.
Every single time a reader responds to one of my books, I feel a new thrill, as if seeing the story through new eyes creates a wholly new perspective, one that I may never have considered before. A mystery is an invitation to the reader to come along with the detective, to match wits with the criminal, to bring his own clever ideas to bear upon solving the puzzle. The synergy created by the author-reader partnership is intellectually and emotionally stimulating and rewarding.
In MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, a group of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful elite gather for a birthday party in the lush, peaceful Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania. When one of them is killed, and almost everyone has a motive, young Detective Oliver Parrott realizes this will be the case to challenge his intellect and to test his moral compass. Figuring out who comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket becomes an active mental exercise for the reader. As the author, I am literally one step ahead of the reader, leading him by the hand, with an enigmatic smile on my face.
Someone comes to the party with murder in their heart and poison in their pocket…
A powerful and rich playboy, a rare but naturally occurring poison, a newly divorced woman with an axe to grind, and pressure from the former President of the US—these are just a few of the challenges that African-American Detective Oliver Parrott faces when he answers a routine call for back-up and discovers someone died at a country estate the morning after an elaborate birthday party. When Parrott learns the deceased is the wealthy former US Secretary of the Treasury and just about everyone at the party had a motive to kill him, he realizes this will be the investigation to make—or break—his career.
Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a writer who teaches on the side. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children worldwide.
Murder in the One Percent, ©2018 Black Opal Books, pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful rich. Set on a gentleman’s farm in Pennsylvania and in the tony areas of New York, the book introduces Detective Oliver Parrott, who matches wits with the country’s elite.
A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn has completed the sequel to Murder in the One Percent, entitled A Palette for Murder. Her standalone mystery, A Murder of Principal, will be released soon. Her website is www.saralynrichard.com.
Social Media Links:
My author’s website is http://www.saralynrichard.com. https://www.facebook.com/saralyn.richard,
https://www.instagram.com/naughty_nana_sheepdog/ and https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7338961.Saralyn_Richard.
I am available to meet with book clubs and organization members. Contact me at email@example.com.
17 thoughts on “Why I Write Mysteries by Saralyn Richard”
I agree with Saralyn. Writing a good mystery is indeed a challenge. You have to be fair to your readers and create a satisfying ending, but you also have to puzzle them. That’s why I’ve read mysteries my entire life. And Saralyn does it with style. MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT is proof.
Why, thank you, June. Sometimes it’s walking a tightrope within your own plot and character arc, but it’s also gratifying when you hear those three little words that make every author’s day, “I loved it!”
Great post, Saralyn and Paty. Mystery, crime, suspense, and thriller books have many common elements, but the “pure mystery” involves readers emotionally and in a cerebral fashion as they try to guess who did the crime. When the detective uncovers the clues as Saralyn’s does a la Poirot, the reader tries to decide what they mean along with the detective. That’s active participation in a story at its best!
I hope Saralyn’s mystery gets the attention it deserves. And yes, the Brandwine Valley is a go-to place for NJ residents like me, so that makes it all the more real!
Thanks for your insightful comments, Steve. Let me know when you’ve been to Brandywine Valley. The sequel (A Palette for Love and Murder) is set there, too.
Great post. The reader/writer connection makes a lot of sense. Your book had me guessing until the end—I loved it. I can’t wait until the next one comes out!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Lynn. Our reader-writer connection goes both ways, and I value your feedback so much.
I enjoyed the post, Saralyn and Paty. I’ve heard people say that all novels have a mysterious element. That’s true, but from the mystery writer’s perspective, that mysterious element in a mystery is so crafty and intricate, and that’s what makes them fun to write. I love it when a reader says, “I read your book and was so surprise by the ending, even though I should have seen it all along.” When I hear that, I know I did my job. Murder in the Once Percent is one of those mysteries!
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Smiling from this compliment, Kathleen. Pursuing the perfect blend of foreshadowing and surprise every time. 🙂
I’ve also taught creative writing at both the high school and college level and it was my favorite course. Although I’ve written in just about every genre, like you, I love writing mysteries as well as reading them.
Thanks for your comments, Jacqueline. It’s an honor to be your sister-mystery-writer.
Wonderful post, Saralyn. I enhoyed Murder in the One percent very much and I look forward to the next. Wonderfully crafted mystery!
Thank you, Minette. I value your feedback so much.
Saralyn, I enjoyed your post. It also reminded me to buy your book Murder in the One Percent. Great title.
Shakespeare in the Vineyard series
Thanks so much for your comments, Carole. I’m delighted to have you as a reader!
Thank you for being a guest today, Saralyn! Great post!
It’s an honor to be a Lady of Mystery, Paty. The best part of writing a mystery is connecting with readers and writers, so thank you for having me write into the sunset alongside every one of you.
It’s an honor to be a Lady of Mystery today. Thank you, Paty Jager, for welcoming me onto your blog and writing into the sunset with me.
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