Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Posed for Murder"

Meredith Cole's short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and the anthology Murder New York Style.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Posed for Murder, winner of the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic best traditional first mystery contest, and reported the following:
Posed for Murder is about a woman named Lydia McKenzie who takes murder recreation photographs. She researches historic cases of women’s whose deaths have gone unsolved, and in some cases their bodies were never identified. She convinces her friends to pose for her film noir style pictures. When Lydia finally achieves her dream of having a show in New York, she is horrified to discover that someone is killing her models just like her photographs. Lydia must figure out the identity of the killer—and stop him before he kills again.

On page 69, Lydia is examining her murdered friend’s calendar to see if she can find any clues to her death. Instead of focusing completely on the task, she gets frustrated by her friend Marie’s bad handwriting and sidetracked by photographs of Marie’s birthday party the year before. This is typical Lydia. She means to be the best sleuth possible, but finds visual images distracting. She is also personally involved with the death. Marie is her friend, and she feels somehow responsible since the murderer used her photograph as a blueprint for the killing.

Lydia, longing for happier times when her friend was still alive, is drawn deeper into the past. Nostalgically, she remembers everyone in her circle of artist friends getting along and being creative together. But in the photographs are some vital clues that will help her solve the mystery of Marie’s death, and will make Lydia ask herself if her memory of her friends and past events is at all accurate. In this way, p. 69 does give a good sense of the rest of the book, and hopefully will draw readers deeper into the story.

From page 69:

Marie’s party the previous year had been a blast. Marie had a gift for collecting creative friends, and then inspiring them to use their talents for her birthday. A designer friend decked out her apartment to resemble a giant red silk tent. It looked like it belonged more in the desert than in Brooklyn. A florist had covered every available surface with fragrant rose petals. A baker made dozens of cupcakes with portraits of Marie on them. Georgia Rae’s band had played, and although the place was packed with people, everyone danced the night away.

Her friend Marie was also a photographer, and was someone Lydia admired a lot. She did art photography and fashion photography, and was hired regularly by top fashion magazines. But Lydia keeps uncovering secrets from Marie’s life at every turn. She tries to cling to what she remembers about her friend, but has to wonder if she really knew Marie at all.
Learn more about the book and author at Meredith Cole's website.

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

--Marshal Zeringue