Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are you a mystery writer?

This was the question I asked my class last week in Santa Rosa. Here's how you can tell:

• You may be a mystery writer if you see a hat in the bushes and wonder where the body is.
• You may be a mystery writer if, at a dinner party, you’ve demonstrated the difference between high velocity and low velocity blood spatter.
• You may be a mystery writer if you’ve asked your child, spouse or friend to lay down and play dead just to see how a body looks from above.
• You may be a mystery writer if you ever sat through a meeting sketching ways to get your boss’s body as well hidden as Jimmy Hoffa.
• You may be a mystery writer if you pass a scaffold being built and stop to take notes just in case you need to hang someone someday.
• You may be a mystery writer if the docent at the Luther Burbank House put you out for asking too many questions about DNA.
• And you may be a mystery writer if you spent your time at the Charles Schultz Museum devising the perfect way for Charlie Brown to kill Lucy.

That last one was because we were in Santa Rosa, adopted home of Schultz and home of the Peanuts Museum.

Are you a mystery writer? This same criteria is good for readers, too, I think. And I know you're one of those.

Can you add one of your own? Fill in the blank.

You may be a mystery writer if...

30 comments:

Monica Ferris said...

You may be a mystery writer if, on going into a building you've never been in before, your first question is, where would I hide the body?

You may be a mystery writer if, on joining any organization, you find yourself paying particular attention to rifts among the members. Especially if one of the members mutters, "I could just kill her."

Monica Ferris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Linda O. Johnston said...

You may be a mystery writer if you spend a lot of your Internet time researching all sorts of stuff that you figure could get authorities concerned if they ever paid attention to you.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You may be a mystery writer if the first thing you think when someone honks you off is, "How could I kill this person and get away with it?"

You may be a mystery writer if you ask anyone knew that you meet, "If you were going to kill someone, how would you do it?" (Believe me, most people have considered this, and will gladly share details.)

You may be a mystery writer if during a spat with your husband, he says to friends, "If I wind up dead, and it looks like natural causes, don't believe a word of it!"

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

You may be a mystery writer if you see a policeman/woman and get really excited and want to make that person your new best friend.

You may be a mystery writer if you go over to cops (leaving your husband at your table in a restaurant) and ask them how their TASER works. You are definitely a mystery writer if they show you and you think it's way cool.

You may be a mystery writer if someone breaks into your car and you are thrilled because now you can see the authorities process a crime scene. (The officer said, "In 25 years on the force, I've never known anyone this happy to be robbed.")

Terri Thayer said...

Great ones! My next class will be rolling on the floor laughing.

And yes, I was so happy my car was broken into when the cop broke out his fingerprint kit and printed the roof.

We're a strange lot. So good we have each other.

Jacquelynn said...

You may be a mystery writer--or reader--if, when shopping for a new car you check the trunk for space to hold a body. (My husband and I alarmed a car salesman once by doing this.)

hvaldez said...

You may be a mystery writer if you find something unusual in your mailbox and immediate wonder if it's a threat.

Betty Hechtman said...

Joanna, I wish I could have seen that cop's face.

I think you know you're a mystery writer when you are more interested in what's going on than your personal safetey when you see a helicopter circling over your house and shining their light in your backyard.

NL Gassert said...

I'm a mystery writer, for sure :-)

You may be a mystery writer if you spend your time in the airport security line trying to figure out how to smuggle your water bottle past the security personnel. (I said "water bottle," because you may be tempted to try to actually get it past the scanners.)

You may be a mystery writer if you notice a stranger entering your neighbor's house and take down the description, in case your neighbor turns up dead the next day.

Nadja

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Betty, he was scratching his head in wonder. By the way, we caught the guy who did the smash-and-grab on my car. It was a fine bit of detective work, and I was proud to be a party to it. He took my credit cards to Walmart. A lot of the credit card companies have real-time info on purchases, so we called the police and helped them access the real-time info. The police then reviewed the cameras at Walmart, and they also knew he'd used a cell phone from another robbery, so they had a name. The camera footage helped them get a confession.

It was so much fun!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I must confess that sometimes this thinking process can get you into trouble. Twice now, I've approached armed authorities who reached for their weapons. One was a Secret Service guy at the White House. Turns out he carries 34 lbs. of equipment, including grenades and guns. Once I suggested to the head of a prominent site here in DC that it would be way too easy to set off a bomb in their underground parking area. The man was horrified. But I am right, it would be, and they are really being silly not to search cars as they enter. A bomb sniffing dog won't do they any good after the car is parked.

Rosemarie said...

You know you are a mystery writer when you can name all of the poison plants at the botanical gardens.

Sandra Parshall said...

The whole time I was touring the National Museum of Crime & Punishment in DC, I was thinking, "Omigod, what a FANTASTIC place to kill somebody!" So many exhibits where a corpse would fit in perfectly...

Gwen Mayo said...

You may be a mystery writer if you have ever frightened a group of tourist on a tour of a bourbon distillery by discussing all the ways someone could die there. The Sisters in Crime did this to a couple of unsuspecting tourist when they asked to join our tour without knowing who we were. After about the 6th suggestion for killing someone we noticed they were putting a lot of distance between themselves and the tour. One of our sisters was kind enough to explain after which they had a great time helping us plot murders.

Sue Curran said...

You may be a mystery writer if you find an innocent piece of electrical equipment and build an entire book around it.

Susan Schreyer said...

You might be a mystery writer if...

While having dinner at a nice restaurant you discuss with your husband whose meal would be the best disguise for poison.

You look for places to dump bodies when out for a walk or jog.

Terri Thayer said...

Good ones, Jacquelynn, nvaldez, and Nadja. All budding mystery writers!

Terri Thayer said...

Joanna, I didn't have such luck when I pointed out to the supermarket manager the women who'd just stolen my wallet. He didn't seem to care much. I went home to cancel credit cards and they charged $249 worth of groceries minutes later.

Terri Thayer said...

Thank you, Rosemarie, Sandra, Sue, Susan and Gwen! Yes, yes, yes!!

I was just on tour with Penny Warner and she talks about asking the security guard at the DeYoung Museum for good places to kill someone. After a moment's hesitation, he totally got into it. Guess he had plenty of time to think on that job.

Dru said...

You may be a mystery reader if you know you can do a better job at solving the crime than the police.

Terri Thayer said...

Yeah, Dru!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

See, Terri, that's why amateur sleuths are the BEST. I grind my teeth in frustration when I see a review of a book with an amateur sleuth and the reviewer says, "Could a person really be smarter than the cops?" Well, no, probably not, but sometimes an amateur might be more motivated, right?

Sharon Wildwind said...

You find a Social Security card left in the photocopier at work and wonder how far you could get into identity theft with that single piece of information.

Terri Thayer said...

Nice one, Sharon.

eclecticfrump said...

You may be a mystery writer if you know exactly what part of. What plant in your garden can kill someone

Anonymous said...

Ypu may be a mystery writer if you look under your kitchen sink and wonder what household products could best be used to murder somebody.

Terri Thayer said...

I'm loving this. Keep 'em coming.

Joan Schramm said...

You may be a mystery writer if, during a restaurant dinner with your husband, you realize the whole restaurant is silent and listening in horror as you discuss your latest "murder" in explicit and gory detail.

Terri Thayer said...

Personal experience, Joan? Great one.