By Paty Jager
I have to confess, while I’m not a huge fan of magic, that is, watching a magician hide and then reveal an item and I don’t try to figure out how he/she does the tricks, I love using that technique when writing a mystery.
My favorite part of writing a mystery is coming up with a sentence here or there that is a clue but I bury it in information that directs the reader in a different direction.
My Shandra Higheagle mysteries have two elements that help the reader discover who the killer is. One is the story, the 50,000+ words that show the characters, reveal the clues, and give red herrings, and hide the clues. The other way is through the dreams Shandra’s deceased grandmother appears in when Shandra is sleeping. These clues are more subtle with hidden meanings.
And I play fair. I always give the killer away in the dreams if the reader can decipher them. And I always make sure the killer, even if it turns out to be someone other than I started out with as the killer, has been in the story a majority of the time and the clues to the killer have been salted throughout.
There is nothing worse than getting to the end of a mystery and wondering where the character the cops arrest came from and what obscure motive did they have?
I love making my killers either vile enough that the reader believes they are the killer then showing why they couldn’t have done it, or taking a person who no one would think of and carefully lacing the why and how through the story.
My new release, Abstract Casualty, takes place in Kaua’i Hawaii. I recently vacationed there. I went to the island with the idea to make it work for a setting for a Shandra book. I was lucky enough to find an event that would bring Shandra to the island.
The fun part was twisting and turning the characters, their reactions, actions, and untold truths into the mystery that evolved. I was pleased when one of my first readers said: “…a tricky, intricate plot.” That was what I was going for. With each book, I feel I need to up the mystery and keep the reader intrigued enough to keep reading.
I’m currently working on a Gabriel Hawke book set in Iceland. Another place I visited last year.
Thank you for having me on this blog. If you have any questions about writing a mystery or keeping a series going- this is book 14 in the Shandra Higheagle series, ask away.
Book 14 in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series
Hawaiian adventure, Deceit, Murder
Shandra Higheagle is asked to juror an art exhibition on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.
After an altercation at the exhibition, the chairwoman of the event, Shandra’s friend, arrives home with torn clothes, scratches, and stating she tried to save an angry artist who fell over a cliff. Shandra and Ryan begin piecing together information to figure out if the friend did try to save the artist or helped him over the edge.
During the investigation, Shandra comes across a person who reminds her of an unhealthy time in her past. Knowing this man and the one from her past, she is determined to find his connection to the dead artist. When her grandmother doesn’t come to her in dreams, Shandra wonders if her past is blinding her from the truth.
Paty Jager is the award-winning author of the Shandra Higheagle and Gabriel Hawke Mystery series. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Paty and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. Riding horses and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. You can follow her at the following places: