If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Blueprint for Murder by Roger Bax: A Review by Warren Bull

Blueprint for Murder by Roger Bax: A Review by Warren Bull

Image from velvetchainsaw.com

Published originally in 1948, Blueprint for Murder was written by Paul Winterton using the penname of Roger Bax. The author also wrote under the names Andrew Garve and Paul Somers. 
The novel starts with Arthur Cross trying to escape from a Russian offensive in World War II. Although he wears a German uniform, when Cross decides Germany is doomed he immediately tries to shed the uniform and assume the pose of having been a British prisoner of war held by the Germans. The author grabbed and held my interest by describing Cross moving alone at night, trying to avoid military forces, seeking food and water by any means possible. He also established that Cross would do anything, including robbery and murder, to stay alive.

Once back in his native England, Cross continues to act in ways that serve his interest at the expense of everyone. Learning he is a beneficiary of his uncle’s will, Cross begins to plot how to kill his uncle without getting caught.  The author’s depiction of Cross’ utterly cold-blooded planning is chilling. 
The extended sea chase at the end of the novel is also engrossing. Technically, the writing is good to excellent. However, one aspect of the novel bothered me — the relationship between the hero and his love interest. The woman is a medical student, daughter of a physician, who wants to become a surgeon. She demonstrates her skill and ability to think clearly in a crisis. In 1948 that was an unusual goal for a woman. Initially, I thought the author had developed an interesting character. However, the hero, in his attempt to sweet-talk her, says he does not think she should become a surgeon, doubting that a woman would have the necessary strength and endurance. He refers to her suspicion of the villain as women’s intuition, discounting her intelligence and reasoning. In response the woman just accuses him of being old fashioned. Neither character seems to find it strange that the hero completely discounts the intelligence, abilities and persistence of the heroine.

Sections of the book, especially the beginning and ending, showed both excellent writing and descriptions of events that I had not read about before. Those parts qualify as highly recommendable. The plotting is clever and realistic. However, the hero’s chauvinistic behavior bothered me. It detracted from my enjoyment of the book.  For me this is an illustration of how a single element of a mystery that rings false can result in an unsatisfying read.

Because of that one element, I recommend Blueprint for Murder as an example of good writing. However, there are many other well-written books I enjoyed more than this.


Grace Topping said...

It is hard reading a book written in a time when the briefs were so different from those of today. I think we have to keep in mind that it was the time. That's why so many people get up in arms about books like "Huckleberry Finn" and others that were a reflection of the time. When reading them, we should just be thankful that we are more enlightened now and look at the rest of the story for what it is worth.

E. B. Davis said...

I think my parents' generation in mass practiced obtuseness when it came to women's intelligence. Their upbringings were Victorian. I know men of that generation often looked at women of the 1960s as an entirely different species. One of them once pigeonholed me as a "career" woman because I didn't get married until I was 28. Of course, the look I gave him put him in an entirely different species.

Grace is right, though. Old books have to be respected for telling the truth of the times no matter how wrong. It's history. It's educational. Entertainment? Not so much.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, it is true that most books of the past didn't respect women, however if it was written by someone like Dorothy L. Sayers, who had Harriet Vane every bit as intelligent as Lord Peter Wimsey, she set readers on a different tract.In fact, if I didn't have such a pile of books still to be read, I think I'd go back and start reading all hers again since I have copies of every one of her books. And yes, even when I graduated from high school in 1956, my parents had only saved enough for one of their children to go to college so they paid for my younger brother's first year because they thought I'd just get married after a year of college. I never questioned it because that's the way things were then. However, it all worked out for the best because when I went to college years later in my early 40s, I loved it far more than the younger people sitting around me looking bored much of the time. The professors made more eye contact with me because they could see how in tune with them I was.

KM Rockwood said...

Interestingly, I have recently read whining statements from men who claim they are not respected in the mystery/crime fiction world. My own feeling is that, while we are making progress, the gender of the writer comes into play entirely too much, and we have to respect fiction from the past as a reflection of the time in which it was written, including attitudes towards various segments of our population.