Mystery Writing, or Why I May Be On An FBI Watchlist

I love mysteries.  Reading them, writing them.  My current work in progress is a mystery/suspense novel tentatively titled Someone’s Watching.

To many humans, a mystery is irresistible.  It must be solved.

Captain Picard, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (4, 14)

SW is currently undergoing edits, the first of which is the method by which my victim is kidnapped.  I wanted her car to stall at an opportune (for the bad guy) moment, so he could nab her.  Thing is, I know almost nothing about cars — I can change a flat tire, pump gas, and check the oil, but that’s about it.

So, off to Bing I went in search of information.

I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details, but essentially the search ended with me contemplating whether or not to look for “how to sabotage someone’s car” and Devin, my other half, convincing me not to.

See, Devin thinks I’m on a watchlist.  He’s pretty sure that if I don’t publish my book soon and justify all the creepy knowledge I have, one day we’ll open the door to a pair of black-suited men asking me just why I needed to know so much about arms dealing and citizen militias.

In the course of my mystery writing, most of my knowledge about crime, how to commit crimes, how to cover up crimes, and so on has come from internet searches.  I now know how to make meth, crack cocaine, molotov cocktails, and chloroform, how to get a fake ID, how to make a hidden camera, where wiretapping is and isn’t illegal, how to fake a suicide, how to dispose of a human body, how to get blood stains out of carpet, what common weeds are poisonous…

Occasionally, I wonder about myself.  Devin has said that if I ever went off the deep end, I’d be a sociopath and never get caught.  Maybe this is kind of why Doctorow called writing “a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”

Sometimes, I wonder about the details of all this.  I have the facts, but no concrete, first-hand detail.  What does chloroform really smell like?  Would those doctored papers get me an ID?  That’s my mystery.

For the sake of my health and freedom, I won’t go looking for concrete detail, but it will always sit in the back of my mind.  The mystery writer part of me will heave a small, dejected sigh when reason reminds it that with a real molotov cocktail I run the risk of blowing off my hand and burning down the house.

Such is life.

By the way, I ended up pleading with my Facebook friends for help sabotaging my victim’s car.  Decided on bleach, which will ruin the gas lines and the tank.  Bleach is an ingredient in chloroform, so it fits perfectly 😉

Resources for mystery writers:

Mystery Writers of America

Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers (Lee Lofland)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating (Steven K. Brown)

D.P. Lyle, M.D., mystery/thriller writer

NaNoWriMo Genre Lounge: Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense