Friday, January 20, 2012

"An Appetite For Murder"

Lucy Burdette is the author of nine mysteries, some of them written as Roberta Isleib.

She applied the Page 69 Test to the recently published An Appetite For Murder, the first in the Key West food critic mystery series, and reported the following:
As I write the first draft of a mystery, I constantly have to remind myself to up the ante on the trouble the character finds. As I've been taught, I try to think about what could be the worst thing that might happen, and then write something even worse. Because being kind to a character only leaches the tension out of the story.

On page 69, the police suspicions that my protagonist murdered her rival are starting to snowball in an ugly way. Hayley's been hauled in by the cops for breaking and entering, and possibly murder. And she's infuriated her best friend by using her cleaning service as a cover for snooping through a crime scene.

I kind of like the way things are going downhill, and fast:
"The detective pulled the newspaper from his pocket, smoothed it out on the table, and tapped my byline. “Is there anything you’d like to tell us about this?”

“Just that it might be a long time before I have a craving for key lime pie?” I tried. No one smiled. “The timing was not fortuitous,” I said. “But you can ask the editor at the paper. That piece was in the queue for almost a month—I sent it in even before Chad and I broke up.

I wrote it on spec and there was no guarantee they were going to publish it, never mind when. But it’s not like I wrote it last week and then got the bright idea to poison Chad’s new girlfriend.” I stopped to take a deep breath. “Why aren’t you looking at him?”

He ignored my question. “I thought your editor was the deceased Kristen Faulkner.”

“She was the co-owner of the magazine I hope to work for—a different entity from the local newspaper,” I said stiffly.

He made me hash through another series of questions about my aspirations to become the food critic at Kristen’s magazine and her aspirations to win my boyfriend. And I did my best to explain why these connections were unrelated to the murder.

“Where does your job stand in relation to Ms. Faulkner’s death?”

"That's a darn good question," I said."
Learn more about the book and author at Lucy Burdette's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue