Good News on the Investigation of Life in The God’s Cycle. The latest: there’s loads of tension in Maine’s 1998 ice storm — enough almost to float a novel without a murder mystery. As anticipation concerning the ice storm builds, I may be able to give the murder a low-profile.
Here’s a list of factors contributing to ice storm suspense:
1. Threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. (12 such deaths reported in Maine’s storm.)
2. Trees breaking by the thousands, blocking highways and lanes, crashing on houses, and downing live power lines.
3. Absolute darkness. Slowly mitigated by primitive means. (In complete darkness, one man in Maine woke thinking he’d gone blind. R and I have experienced this darkness.)
4. Extreme difficulty walking on solid ice as thick as your forefinger is long — accompanying injuries. I had one of these and it turned out chronic to this day. (ouch)
5. Mysteriously, one store open in an isolation of light provided by the power company. My reading so far has not discovered the cause of this. The state’s central office of the power company itself lost power.
There’s much more. But all the above will suffice for minimum and slow advance on the murder, for both officials, reader, and writer.
I’ve been rereading Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers and finding it, this time around, a regular mishmash (if the paradoxical coupling with the adjective can be accepted, or even excepted). I recall being less than thrilled with my initial reading, without recalling why. Now I see. Sayers could have used an ice storm and cut the puzzle. Though some may enjoy the dance, for me it’s not engagingly presented. (I feel my eighth-grade teacher saying, pay attention!) With an ice storm her corpse could have gone under the sea, stayed out of sight awhile, bobbed to the surface, gone under, come up again, each time in a different part of the sea and (of course) the narrative. Oh yes! both reader and writer recall. –That murder again! (Or was a suicide?) But there it is again!!
yes, we have been waiting for snow, have hardly gone shoeing all winter. we’ve endured outages, but scarcely had snow. now we’ve got snow and no outages! it’s so nice to wash clothes and dishes using electricity. no need to use the dryer during outages–we just hang clothes around the house for the wood stove heat to dry. this adds welcome moisture to the cabin. thanks so to whomever is responsible for all this.
I’m not yet embroiled in the investigation, but must, like any detective, do the legwork, tedious inspection of clues no matter how trivial or overblown. Much is needed. Lots of background on the ‘ 98 ice storm and other winter storms germane to the thoughts and actions of characters. This kind of work is, well, work. Something much more interesting to me is building the mystery-story structure. Also, My imagination’s been marinating in enjoyable stories of detection by various authors in both print and unabridged audio versions. It’s said Sayers immersed in mysteries before writing them. I have how-to books but don’t plan to read them… unless I get stuck?