The evening of October 1, author Jeffrey Eaton will discuss mystery writing and his “Murder Becomes” series before the Friends of the Richardson, Texas, Libraries group. Get more details on this fun, intriguing event at: https://www.richardsonfol.org/annual-meeting/
The appearance has prompted Eaton’s detective/protagonist, Dalton Lee, to impart an important message: “Libraries, and librarians, still matter.”
Librarians can guide us to the best research sources faster than most Google searches filled with ads ever will. Meanwhile, libraries have become outstanding locales for lectures, panel discussions, poetry readings and more.
Magicians learned a long time ago that the best way to distract you from the legerdemain they are undertaking ‘over there,’ is to create some type of flourish, some sort of eye-catching extravaganza, ‘over here.’ Some claim today’s politicians now use this distraction technique more than magician’s do, making voters forget about some scandal ‘over here’ by focusing on some crisis or impending threat ‘over there.’
In “Murder Becomes Mayfair,” architect/detective Dalton Lee is told by his mysterious confidant that he should beware of distractions as he and his team try to deduce what terrorist plot The Organization has in store for London. And, try to understand why they felt the need to murder a seemingly humble tailor working on Savile Row.
But that mysterious confidant has also been distracted in a way that only becomes apparent near the end of the book. Seems nobody can trust anyone these days.
Fog. Electrical sprites. A haunted carnival ground. And seven identical suitcases showing up unannounced at Heathrow. These and many other mysterious elements will make “Murder Becomes Mayfair” the go-to thriller as we head into the holiday season.
Just don’t let anything distract you from purchasing this eerie mystery once September rolls around.
(Get the background about Dalton Lee and his team here)
It’s a question I’m often asked: when do you write/how do you find time to write?
Here is the answer: when I can. And I don’t beat myself up for not writing more, sooner.
As writers, we need to be kind to ourselves. In addition to creating a book, we also have to put gas in the car, compare nutritional statistics on different juice bottles, tend to a frustrated relative and/or take out the trash.
It can be overwhelming/frustrating. Especially when we have a vocation on top of our avocation.
So the trick for me is to set reasonable goals each week. I will write two chapters this week. I will also do 1 thing every other day on social media.
If I achieve all that, it’s been a stellar week. If not, I do not allow myself to get despondent. I just tweak next week’s schedule based on what else I have to do and keep putting one keystroke in front of the next.
Now and then. Here and there. One thing today, two things tomorrow. That’s the balance beam we persistent writers walk along, and don’t let anyone make deadlines or rushed expectations knock you off of it.
Last night I sat down to a plate of calamari and a glass of pinot grigio at my favorite Italian restaurant to map out the plot to my next book, “Murder Becomes Miami.” Even though “Murder Becomes Manhattan” just landed a few weeks ago, I am itchin’ to carry on the tale of Dalton Lee and the architect/detectives who make up The Lee Group.
Mapping out a plot is, I believe, one of the most exciting parts of crafting a book, for it by itself bathes me in a mood of mystery and intrigue well before I have written the first word.
Who will I select as the murderer and how will they be connected to this strange cult known as The Organization? What plot is The Organization hatching and how was the victim connected to it? How will I hide the murderer within the community of people you will meet? Who else will I put forward as possible suspects and how can I best make them suspect without making their innocence too obvious to you?
And most important, how can I push myself to ensure the reading experience I give you delivers twists and turns neither of us saw coming?
Whereas the architecture of the skyscrapers in Manhattan took center stage in the first book, in this next book it will be the Art Deco motifs found in Miami. But an architectural detail will once again play a key role in the solving of the murder.
I look forward to the tale unfolding and to your feedback as to how I can improve on the debut effort found in “Murder Becomes Manhattan.”
As Murder Becomes Manhattan nears its debut (less than 24 hours!), I wonder who within the book readers will most connect with.
Will it be Dalton Lee, the dashing but quirky lead detective whose genius is unquestioned but whose personal life is a wreck? Or will it be Bree, who has a nervous breakdown triggered by a street performer?
Perhaps it will be Roberto, whose devotion to his little sister drives him to desperate measures that threatens the security of all of his colleagues.
But then it might be one of the suspects, like the flamboyant and shrill Carolina Campobello or the totally transparent wannabe, Toni Spencer.
Only time will tell. And I am sure the result will be very different from what I might have imagined. You can pre-order Murder Becomes Manhattan now at Amazon.com, Nook.com, Kobo.com and through iTunes.
Dalton Lee is a connoisseur of QUALITY items. This is not someone who shops at WalMart or drives a Kia.
In Murder Becomes Manhattan, the architect/detective at one point decides to have a drink at The Constellation Room, a penthouse-level lounge in one of the city’s finest hotels. And he asks the server to bring him one of the world’s finest bourbon whiskeys out there, a Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight.
Now this is no paid endorsement, I promise you. I have had a Buffalo Trace and it is truly sublime. So it just made sense to me that Dalton Lee should savor this expertly crafted elixir.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is distilled, aged and bottled at the most award-winning distillery in the world. Made from the finest corn, rye and barley malt, this whiskey ages in new oak barrels for years in century old warehouses until the peak of maturity. The taste is rich and complex, with hints of vanilla, toffee and candied fruit.
But don’t just take my word for it.
I received a nice email today from the distillery’s CEO, thanking us for calling them out in the book. So should you look into Buffalo Trace the next time you want to nurse a terrific bourbon, know it will not only help make you as debonair as Dalton Lee — it will also connect you to a gentlemanly organization if ever there were one.
Murder Becomes Manhattan has essential clues to the killer’s identity, and the victim’s connection to The Organization, scattered throughout it. But they are subtly woven in, delivered in passing. At least, I hope they are. 😉
The importance of subtlety in delivering clues has become more apparent to me as I watch such television series as “Scandal” and “Castle” and “How to Get Away With Murder”.
On the latter show, it was a small detail of background wallpaper in an incriminating photograph that revealed the racy photo was actually taken in the home of the character played by Viola Davis. In another episode, house numbers briefly seen in a video turned out to be integral to identifying someone being somewhere they should not have been.
Last night’s episode showed a newscast with a reporter delivering damning information and in the middle of the report, someone runs past the camera behind the reporter and mugs it. I have no doubt that small detail will loom large later in the show.
With mystery readers becoming more and more savvy, I believe it is becoming more and more difficult to embed clues the reader will not recognize as having importance. What deftly hidden clues have you found well executed in the mystery writing you have encountered?
One of the great challenges associated with writing a mystery is how to make it stand out from the 100 gazillion other mysteries out there. I concocted the angle of letting the eBook versions of Murder Becomes Manhattan contain links to pictures, videos and other content that might enhance the reading experience.
Or does it? Most murder mystery readers I have shown the concept to have found it fun and worthwhile. But I do wonder if some will consider those links distractions to the story.
The entire book contains about 40 links. I have tried to scatter them throughout the book, although some of the early chapters have a greater abundance of them than the chapters near the book’s climax. And I tried to focus on including only those links that I felt might be worth exploring. A video of a popular song that causes one of the characters to have a public meltdown. A recipe to the perfect grilled cheese sandwich the primary detective craves.
And of course links to the murder scenes and the apartment lived in by one of the victims.
But what do you think about this — if you will pardon the pun — NOVEL concept. Beneficial? Or an irritation?
There’s so much groundbreaking architecture in Manhattan. Who can resist the pull of the Guggenheim Museum, the New York Public Library or Grand Central Station? Yet none of those get coverage in my novel Murder Becomes Manhattan. Why is that, a couple of early readers have asked.
My primary detective in the “Murder Becomes” series, Dalton Lee, is a world-renowned architect with projects across the globe. In each book, his knowledge of architecture will help him solve the murder at hand. So I wanted architecture to play a key role in each book.
The architectural form Manhattan is most renowned for is the skyscraper. That is the city in which it debuted and that is the city in which it has been perfected over time. And in the 2010s, it is the city in which a revolution in skyscraper design is underway.
Since I cannot focus on ALL of the tremendous architecture available in my murder locales, I chose to settle on the subset of architecture most important to each place. In my mind, in Manhattan, that should be the skyscraper, and in my next mystery, Murder Becomes Miami, it should be the Deco architecture that city is known for. But do you agree?