Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the things our friends do

Lee Loffland's The Graveyard Shift blog a few days ago spoke about how hard it's getting for writers to find good murder spots.
So difficult these days, he says. He suggests to take a weekend road trip to find those pesky, hard-to-find murder scenes.
Lee says "Not all murderers choose to do their dirty work in the comfort of someone’s warm and cozy brick rancher on So Sweet Lane in Lovelytown, USA. Sometimes, assassins are a bit creative when it comes to disposing of the fruits of their labor. In fact, victims have been found in really odd places, like…old, rat-infested, abandoned factories, dilapidated houses, inside rusty farm machinery, lying miles-deep in the woods, a railroad car, inside discarded barrels, inside water towers and tanks, under water, a chimney, and hanging from the rafters in a barn. So why not be creative when writing your murder scenes? The real killers sure are."
Lee's in law enforcement.
Our blog writers fit that bill. We think global and creativity abounds in Brazil, Iceland, Greece, the UK, Bangkok, France, Africa and make use of our distinctive landscape for a good killing. For me, it's an extended road trip over the big pond.
In my case, Paris, a densely populated city, poses sometimes unique issues - a spectrum of difficulty in where to put that body. My constant challenges are those annoying passersby, the curious concierge at the window, the late night
reveler's stumbling in a passage...nuisances really when you need to kill someone and hide their body.
So I ask my friends for help. Carla, the 'victim' in the orange-red raincoat above took some persuading over a chocolat chaud to agree. But what are friends for I asked? I needed to visualize the setting, the distances, the greenery and put a body there. Turns out I used this house in Paris (unknown to the owners and plan to keep it that way) and moved the body to the back near the shrubbery. Carla's often called on to give 'service' and help out in a variety of circumstances. Most recently in climbing over a metal spiked fence into a park near Place de la République and seeing if she could do it in under two minutes. It worked and I can't thank her enough. It totally changed a plot point in the story.
Now of course if one uses interior locations - an apartment, chateau in the country, museum, or the catacombs they offer distinct possibilities but tie more directly back to the perpetrator. Whose apartment or chateau?
An abandoned phantom Metro station?
What about a vigilant guard in the museum, a video camera in the street making this prospective narrow passage impossible

Of course underground tunnels in Paris always make a good body stash

What about you? Any friends you call on for that hard to pinpoint murder location?

Cara - Tuesday

Murder in Passy comes out in two weeks. Visit http://www.carablack.com and check my events for the book tour. Would love to see you. And yes, Carla my 'victim' was on location in Passy.


  1. I never gave any thought about what was most important in a work of fiction - plot, story, characters, or setting.

    Since Murder Is Everywhere made its debut, I realize that "place" is the most important because plot, story, and characters are a reflection of that bit of geography in which the action unfolds.

    (You have very good friends. I don't know anyone older than my 25 year-old son who can climb a spiked fence even if they had a day.)


  2. Thanks for your comments on 'place' Beth. I'd like to borrow your line
    about plot, story and characters as a reflection of that bit of geography where the action unfolds for a panel this weekend on Setting. I'll give you credit too for such a succinct recap.
    My friend Carla is a real sport and in great shape. She's a daredevil on the velib' those bikes and whizzes on the bike lanes and in between traffic. I always let her lead, hold my breath and pray we survive living dangerously. Cara

  3. Cara, I am so glad that you found something you can borrow from me in that I borrow your blog entries all the time.


  4. Wonderful post, Cara, beautiful pictures, and congratulations on the new book being chosen one of the "Dirty Dozen for 201l" by Kirkus Reviews.

    (Sound of two hands clapping.)