Tag Archives: Mystery

Mystery on a postcard

Phil: I recently bought an old postcard for the picture on the front. The postmark is 16th December 1906 and on the back, in tiny, neat handwriting is the following message:

Dear Kittie.

I received your letter last Wednesday, but you only told us half a tale, you didn’t say what time you would get here, nor how you are coming, nor how long you are going to stay.

Write to Annie and tell her or else she is going to give you a good blowing up when you come.

Am going there for Xmas Day as you are coming. Shant we be a happy family. Don’t disappoint us or it will be the worse for you. 

Annie is as busy as a bee getting cleaned up ready for you.

Well ta ta and don’t forget to write to her.

Love from Nancie

Is it a blacksmith or carpenter in the picture?

Who is Kittie?

How could she disappoint everyone at Christmas and how would it be worse for her?

Annie is presumably a relative who will be hosting the “happy family” over the festive period, but it sounds like Kittie isn’t very good at keeping in touch. Perhaps she’s the sort of gel who likes to swan in an out expecting everyone to drop whatever they are doing to attend to her needs.

All in all, a bit of a mystery. Even the question about the picture contains a puzzle – the postcard is a photo from a glen in the Isle of Man, so the picture must refer to something in a previous communication.

You could write a story based entirely around this card. Kittie and Nancie would be sisters in the early part of the 20th Century. Kittie (I see her as the flighty one) has moved to London where she is drinking in disreputable jazz clubs and dancing with men. Scandalous! Nancie stayed at home somewhere in Kent with no more ambition than to marry her sweetheart and have children.

Their father is kind, but doesn’t really approve of what his younger daughter is doing in the capital and insists that she comes home occasionally to placate her mother. When she does, there is the local squire’s son who pursues her but initially she isn’t interested. He follows her back to London and she realises the mistake she is making, possibly when he saves her from some cad who doesn’t have her best interests at heart.

The moral for authors is – if you need a story, look through old postcards. There’s plenty of human interest there!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Phil, Writing

Never mind The Girl on the Train, who is Katherine?

Girl on the trainPhil: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is an international bestseller. People on trains up and down the country are reading it. SJ Watson says it’s “Gripping, enthralling – a top-notch thriller and a compulsive read.”

SJ Watson is wrong. I started reading it and far from being a compulsive read, by the third chapter, all I wanted to do was shout at the pages, “Get a mooooove on!”

The story is supposed to be slowly revealed, mostly through the alcoholic haze of it’s main protagonist. I pretty quickly worked out I didn’t much care about her and looked up the plot on Wikipedia.

Job done.

There IS mystery attached to this book though. On the frontispiece there is a handwritten note:

To Katherine,

Lovely to meet you today,

I hope you enjoyed it!

Love Andrea

P.S. You really were great x

Who is Katherine?
Who is Andrea?
What did they enjoy?
What was she great at?
Why did she abandon a book with such a personal inscription to a charity shop?
Did she,like me, think the story needed to get a move on?
Did she think that if she’d been so great, Andrea might have given her a better book?
Had Andrea read the book, or was it chosen because it was the current best seller and therefore must be good?

We shall never know. Might make a good basis for a story though.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Phil, Writing

The police procedural

Riozoli and IslesCandice: I like to read police based fiction as the main body of my reading matter, as well as watching it on TV too.

To me it is the toughest kind of writing, as I always struggle to work out how they come up so many different ways for people to commit a crime, with added twists and turns and red herrings. I know, during the writing of the book, Phil and I have created some side stories to make things more interesting but none of them involve having to know about police procedure or medical technical jargon. They just involve mad ideas that popped in to our heads.

When I read and watch these dramas I am just amazed at how they come up with the route to the end of the story, does the crime and culprit come first and then the padding of extra characters. How do they manage to find so many ways for people to seem like they’ve done it, when they haven’t ?

I love to work out who has actually done it before the end, I actually quite good at it, but it doesn’t mean I could write a story like that. So hats off to all you crime writers out there.

3 Comments

Filed under Candice, Writing