Friday, April 20, 2007

"Why Casey Had To Die"

L.C. Hayden applied the "page 69 test" to her Agatha-nominated novel, Why Casey Had to Die: A Harry Bronson Mystery, and reported the following:
I bow my head in shame. I gave my latest release, Why Casey Had To Die, the Page 69 test and I flunked. If a reader were to open the book to Page 69 and read only that page, the essence of the book would bypass him.

Ellery Queen Magazine wrote about me and Casey: “... her knack for gripping the reader is undeniable.” This page tends to set up the suspense that’s going to follow rather than thrust the reader in that web of suspense.

The only tiny part of suspense that might grab the reader appears on the last five lines of the page. Bronson, my detective, has learned that the so-called fictional murder puzzle that the attendees of a mystery convention are supposed to solve is actually a real cold case. In fact, it is Bronson’s first unsolved case.

Bronson asks one of the conference attendees if any of the previous fictional murder cases has ever been set in Texas. The last three lines read:

Katherine shook her head. “Not that I can remember. Far as I know, they all
have been set here in Arizona.”

“Then why the change this year?”

Hopefully, the reader will want to turn the page and find the answer. It is, after all, the backbone to the suspense that will send Bronson down a path filled with terror — one that places not only him in mortal danger, but also his beloved wife, Carol.
Check out the author's website to learn more about Why Casey Had To Die and to read an excerpt.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue