Traditional Mysteries: How to Create Fair Play Puzzles that Sell
Traditional mysteries come with a set of specific reader expectations. Your readers look for an ethical and smart detective, probably an amateur; a killer and victim who are known to each other—no random serial killers, for instance; a sweet and decent world without graphic violence, explicit sex, or cussin’, probably a small town; and a solution that depends on the deductive abilities of the sleuth, not forensics. Writing to meet these multi-faceted and complex standards helps ensure your traditional mystery will sell.
Jane K. Cleland’s multiple award-winning and IMBA best-selling Josie Prescott Antique Mystery series (St. Martin’s Minotaur) has been reviewed as an Antiques Roadshow for mystery fans. Library Journal named Consigned to Death a “core title” for librarians looking to build a cozy mystery collection, one of only 22 titles listed, along with books by Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Jane chairs the Black Orchid Novella Award, one of the Wolfe Pack’s literary awards, granted in partnership with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She is a past chapter president of the Mystery Writers of America/New York Chapter and served on the national board as well. Additionally, Jane is the host of the Writer’s Room, a series of interviews with today’s bestselling crime fiction authors that appear on cable television and online. Jane’s book on the craft of writing, Mastering Suspense, Structure, & Plot (Writer’s Digest Books) helps authors create gripping stories readers can’t put down. Jane has both an MFA (in professional and creative writing) and an MBA (in marketing and management). She’s on the faculty of Lehman College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. She also mentors MFA students in Western Connecticut State University’s MFA in Creative & Professional Writing program and is a frequent guest author at other university programs.