Monday, November 2, 2015

Who Are Going to Be My Next Murder Victims and Murderers?

by Linda Rodriguez

I have started a list for my future mysteries of people I want to bump off or people evil and dastardly enough to kill others. The vegan stranger who made fun of my appearance on Facebook and told me how ugly I was is going to the top of the list, supplanting the nasty young man who drove to tears a woman who gets chemo with me by calling her fat and lazy. Right behind those two is the psychopath who spread poison to try to kill my wheelchair-bound friend’s service dog. I suspect he’ll be a murderer.

Then there’s the powerful literary figure I disagreed with publicly. So many people warned me to watch my back because this person is vindictive and vicious, telling me their own terrible experiences. I can’t decide whether such a person would make a better victim—so many people with motives to kill!—or a better murderer—so Machiavellian and sadistic.

I already have planned a book that will involve a crazy, radical church group that’s really just one large, cultish family that pickets the funerals of victims of natural disasters to claim those deaths are God’s wrath on this country for not stoning gay people—and women who have abortions and women who leave their husbands. Leaders of this group will be suspects and, ultimately, perhaps victims and/or murderers.

Then there’s the guy in Accounting at my publishers who too often decides that he really doesn’t need to meet any of the contractual deadlines for my checks, although they hold me to my deadlines for manuscript and revisions/copyedits with bands of legal steel. Months go by after the payment was due, and he’s whistling around his office, happily not sending out checks to a long list of authors who were owed them months earlier when suddenly a shot rings out, breaking a window from the parking lot, and the deadbeat in Accounting is bleeding out on the floor. By the time anyone thinks to look out the window, there’s no one there. The questions for investigators are how many of the writers he was stiffing were in New York at the time and how many of the other employees he’s offended and injured professionally were in the vicinity at the time (because you know that anyone who’d treat authors that way is hell on wheels with other people, too).

Then there’s the person who sent me to a collection agency for a bill that the hospital shouldn’t have billed in the first place since everything that was supposed to be paid was paid. But they tried to get Medicare to pay for what the insurance company had disallowed as an overcharge according to their contract with that hospital, and when Medicare wouldn’t pay it (since it wasn’t a charge that should ever have gone to them), this person sent the bill to me. I called and told her this was insurance fraud they were perpetrating. She told me it was a simple mistake and to disregard it. Then she turned me over to a collection agency.  

Where do you think she should go? Malevolent murder victim or vicious killer?


E. B. Davis said...

The woman who turned you over to a collection agency? Definitely needs to be killed off in my opinion, Linda.

Mystery writers have a fine line to skirt. We don't want our sleuths to be insensitive to death, but then we also don't want to kill off an innocent.

If you are writing a cozy, which I wouldn't categorize your books as, it is especially important not to do so because readers find solace within the pages. Readers hate when children and beloved pets are killed.

The traditional mystery reader wants justice for the victim and the logic to follow its solution. I think the way you kill off those nasty people in your life and keep sensitive to death is to have innocents as next of kin or friends who has no clue what the victim was really like. It's easy to blame the victim, but if their character and actions resulted in their murder, then your MC can be sensitive to those affected by the murder.

I'm amazed by the mercenary in our society. In D.C., no one will show any vulnerability because weaknesses make us prey--yep--predators and prey--that's how this town is divided. A lesson I learned a long time ago. As a talented writer, take comfort in the Red Jungle Writers blog name--Writing is the best revenge! Wouldn't it be nice if those nasty people recognized themselves in your pages? Yeah--right.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

The billing clerk? Probably on the take from the collection agency. Bump her off.

People I want to kill off: realtors, home repair people who do a lousy job and refuse to correct their work, all car salesmen and most car repair people, elementary school teachers who make grandiose rulings, with no factual basis, about a child's intelligence and academic abilities. DMV personnel, and doctor's offices that call at dinner time for a 15 minute "review" of my insurance, though I supplied all details when I made the appointment, and will supply all the details again when I appear in person for the appointment.

Warren Bull said...


Don't forget the Facebook lout who sees your photo and sends a message that he feels so drawn to your photo that he wants to meet you in person. In my writing I have included the horrible coworker and the nasty clergy. It's interesting that the person behind the inspiration won't recognize the character.

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, the people I want to bump off are the bigots and those who seem to think every homeless or poor person is lazy and doesn't want to work. Yes, there are other people who annoy me, too, but for the most part it's not enough to want to kill them, but the ones you've come in contact with, I definitely would get my revenge on the printed page. Most of my victims are figments of my imagination or people I've read about in the newspaper.

Grace Topping said...

Brilliant blog, Linda. It does give you some satisfaction to take revenge on awful people--if only in your books. I did that in my WIP, and it help lay some ghosts to rest. Your post also shows that sometimes the best way of dealing with the anger you feel towards some individuals is best dealt with humor.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Elaine, ooooh, DC! Now, you're really talking about big-time predators and prey there. And yes, I sometimes like to make it seem that the victim was an innocent--until the investigation starts revealing what they've actually done.

Margaret, I never thought that the biliing clerk was in the pay of the collection agency. I was thinking either she was lazy and vindictive or this was a policy of the national corporation that owns that doctors office--bill for what you know you shouldn't get and try to intimidate the patient into paying what they shouldn't have to.

Warren, yes. Because we all see ourselves as heroes, even those who persecute others or rip them off.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Gloria, the bigots have been coming out of the woodwork lately. Too numerous to put into a book unless you design a character to represent all of them.

Thanks, Grace! If you can't laugh at your troubles and the people who cause them, what are you going to do? I don't want to carry all that awful negative stuff inside me.

Shari Randall said...

Oh, I am definitely in favor of Collection Agency Catie being a murderer - what an amoral soul!

carla said...

LOVE this. My next victim will the mean woman who confronted my friend. My friend was with her adult son who has severe autism. The mean woman, an anti-vaccine person, said to my friend, "How does it feel knowing you did that to your child?"
Mean woman is gonna die a terrible death in an upcoming book!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Oh, yay, Shari! You've given her a name. She's starting to take form before my eyes.

Carla, ugh! What a dastardly, cruel woman! Maybe she'll set a fire to cover her tracks as a serial killer, the detective and cops will come, and she'll get caught trying to escape out the back.

This is why mystery writers are such nice people. We use the page to get rid of all the venom daily life injects into us.

Anonymous said...

Carla, Mean Woman's character needs to die of a disease she could have been vaccinated for . . .
Collection Catie might well have a "finder's fee" arrangement. When I was dealing with I. D. Fraud (I refuse to use the term theft -- I am I; those others have defrauded the companies who didn't check to see who they were doing business with)
I discovered that companies are reluctant to declare an account fraudulent because then they can't sell it to collection agencies. I wrote a "Parable of A T & T as therapy for myself, but then enclosed a copy with my real phone bill, labeling it "for anyone who cares about customers" and the fraudulent bill was cancelled the next week.
The person not writing checks is found dead in the office, checkbook in hand . . .
A particular assistant principal inspired homicidal tendencies in many, but despite offers of help with the body, I opted for fiction, much less mess that way, and sufficient catharsis to make it through the rest of the school year.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Mary, I'm stunned. Just when I think Our money-sick, profit-above-all country can't get any worse, I find something new. A finder's fee arrangement with collection agencies? So she has a vested interest in wrongly billing and then falsely referring for collection. I think it's time for some chocolate since my meds won't allow me to drink.