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Amateur detectives: a writer's guide to how…

Amateur detectives: a writer's guide to how private citizens solve…

by Elaine Raco Chase, Anne Wingate

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Substance: The bulk of the book consists of encyclopedia-style (but not quite encyclopedic) entries about fictional amateur detectives, followed by some limp advice on how to write novels about the same. Laundry-list of classic and contemporary writers was stultifying rather than enlightening (and omitted Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman!).
Emphasized a focus on relationships rather than sophisticated plotting (which is why I find contemporary books generally poor mysteries). Quotes Good Housekeeping rather than any scientific sources, and perpetuates many outdated schticks. Best chapter: listed records that are accessible to public (although the actual law and IT are now out of date) and mentioned things you (the mystery writer) might not have thought of on your own.
Does mention one actual amateur detective who became a serial 'tec (Jim McClosky); however, most real "detectives" are only interested in solving their own real-life crime event (Susan Billing).

Style: Not the best. The authors are not themselves good writers, and the editors were abysmal. Poor syntax, poor paragraphing, and outright spelling errors abound.

NOTE: "The Fugitive" is a fictional version of the "real person" detective, solving other people's problems while trying to solve his own. ( )
  librisissimo | Nov 25, 2011 |
I haven't gotten to this one yet, which is a shame. I need to write more cozies.
  filamena | Dec 21, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elaine Raco Chaseprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wingate, Annemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 089879725X, Paperback)

Did you ever want your protagonist to make a citizen's arrest, but you didn't know the process? If the answer is yes, then turn to this volume from the Writer's Digest Howdunit series. It has all the information your sleuth needs for busting open the big case, including an overview on Internet hacking and descriptions of how real crime victims have solved their own cases. This book is recommended for mystery fans as well as scribes. I wish I had this back when I was reading those Encyclopedia Brown stories!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:48 -0400)

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