I've read several Sue Grafton mysteries and have enjoyed them all. I didn't know she had written (edited) a how-to book on mystery writing. I'm adding this to my arsenal, as well.
Dreams by Paty Jager
The first time I read Sue Grafton’s A is for Alibi, my creative writing
brain fired up. I’d found a mystery voice and character that made me think I
could write a mystery. I was an avid reader of mysteries: Agatha Christie,
Dorothy Gilman, Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman, Lillian Jackson Braun. They were
all writers who had strong, intriguing, yet genuine main characters as the
sleuths, and in the case of Hillerman, I was drawn to the Native American
I had several college fiction/creative
writing classes and decided I could tackle a first person mystery with a female
protagonist. Only I had never lived in a large city and I knew nothing about
how the legal system worked. However, shortly after I’d made my decision to
write a mystery there were two people on a talk show. They had written a book, Be Your Own Detective. I sat down and
listen to the whole interview. Afterwards, I went to the book store and ordered
In setting up my first mystery, I had my
novice sleuth do the same thing. When she gets a call from her ex-husband from
jail claiming he didn’t kill the person he’s accused of killing, she sees the
talk show and goes out and buys the book to help discover the truth. I used the
methods in the book to move the character through the book and plot. That book and
the second with that sleuth has not seen the light of day.
My arsenal of “how to” writing books has Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by Mystery
Writers of America and edited by Sue Grafton. This book has also been helpful
and influential in my mystery writing process.
author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On
her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers
and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program
Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes,
she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along
with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes
her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story. She recently
returned to the genre of her heart- Mystery.
Duplicity: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery
one of the Shandra Higheagle Native American Mystery Series
On the eve of the biggest art
event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in
the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now
it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as
innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra
becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth.
Detective Ryan Greer prides
himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including
Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams,
Ryan believes in them and believes in her.
pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before
one of them becomes the next victim?
Labels: #mystery #cozies #amateursleuth #inspiration #howto #writing