THE STRAND MAGAZINE'S MYSTERY BLOG

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Dark Obsessions: Finding Inspiration in My Favorite (Unwatched) Horror FilmsDark Obsessions: Finding Inspiration in My Favorite (Unwatched) Horror Films

Dark Obsessions: Finding Inspiration in My Favorite (Unwatched) Horror Films   Sometimes the idea for book is born out of a newspaper article I skim in an airport. Sometimes it comes from witnessing a friend’s nasty divorce. And sometimes it lurches to life when I ask a friend too many questions about an article in […]


The Anatomy of an Architectural l MysteryThe Anatomy of an Architectural Mystery

The Anatomy of an Architectural l Mystery   A few weeks ago, I was going through this abandoned 1880s rowhouse in north central Baltimore and came across a mummified cat on the third floor. (See attached) It reminded me of those cats the ancient Egyptians put in their tombs because they worshiped cats. I would […]


Ten Great Things about Emperor Nero Ten Great Things about Emperor Nero

Ten Great Things about Emperor Nero  The emperor Nero, who reigned from A.D. 54—68, has been called “the first mass market pop star” and “the Elvis of the ancient world.”  Who could not want to know such a character better?  Although he was emperor, he saw himself primarily as an artist, especially as a performer […]


TEN TIPS FOR WRITING CRIME FICTIONThe Five Don’ts of Writing

The Five Don’ts of Writing   Most of us have mulled over the myriad articles on ways to improve our writing, searching for that nugget of advice that will elevate our craft from mundane to marvelous.  How many times have you clicked on that kind of article or stopped at the magazine page to see […]


Where’s the body? The importance of a corpse to a crime writer…

Where’s the body? The importance of a corpse to a crime writer…   I’ve been talking to audiences about murder for a number of years now. As a result, I’m uncomfortably aware that a high percentage of perfectly ordinary people have thought about committing murder—and some have a specific victim in mind. The stories I […]


3. Bostock’s Animal Arena (c.1910), part of the Dreamland amusement park on Coney Island, where Edgar Laplante worked. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints & Photographic Division)Is Truth Stranger Than Fiction? It might be if you read about the talented Edgar Laplante

Is Truth Stranger Than Fiction? It might be if you read about the talented Edgar Laplante   It’s often said that truth is stranger than fiction. Nowhere is the validity of this tired old adage demonstrated more emphatically than in the adventures of the once world famous yet now little-known Jazz Age singing star, Edgar […]


Fiction Writing from A to Z

Do you know your fiction writing ABCs? Fiction Writing from A to Z   Reminders about our craft make our imaginations burst into creative mode. From A to Z, we find sources of inspiration to keep us writing. I’ve chosen the first word that entered my mind for each letter as a means to keep […]


Five Reinventions of the Boston Crime NovelFive Reinventions of the Boston Crime Novel

Five Reinventions of the Boston Crime Novel How to account for the popularity of Boston as a setting for crime fiction? There’s the city’s checkered history of real-life crime, from the Brinks truck job to the Gardner Museum heist to the tragic Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Then there’s the Hub’s rogues gallery of larger-than-life […]


Eight Outer Banks Locations Guaranteed to Add Chills to Your VacationEight Outer Banks Locations Guaranteed to Add Chills to Your Vacation

Eight Outer Banks Locations Guaranteed to Add Chills to Your Vacation   For many American families, the words Outer Banks are synonymous with nostalgia and summer family fun. From historic lighthouses and mountainous sand dunes to wild horses and enchanting maritime forests, these narrow barrier islands along the east coast of North Carolina have something […]


"You mean I'm not Perfect?" Celebrate those idiosyncrasies in your favorite sleuths...“You mean I’m not Perfect?” Celebrate those idiosyncrasies in your favorite sleuths…

“You mean I’m not perfect?” Celebrate those idiosyncrasies in your favorite sleuths… The “Defective Detective” trope in fiction and media is often viewed negatively. Some readers believe it does a disservice to normalizing mental illness, and many feel it might add to the stigma surrounding sufferers.  Below are five detectives whose mental illness acts not […]


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