So, I’m working on Masks. Finally got around to checking the thread I started on FM asking for good books to read to help me write mysteries. Got plenty of responses: fiction to study to see how other writers have done it; how-to books; and Zette gave me links to Vision articles to help me on my way.

Currently, I’m reading The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow to see how magic is used in a fantasy mystery, though her book is Steampunk. While I like the two MCs, I must say she’s handling the mystery much differently than I’ve been in my own work, but that’s understandable. I’m a different writer. My book, though set on a secondary “fantasy” world, is also much more along the line of Police Procedural mysteries. At any rate, Lilith Saintcrow’s book has been an enjoyable read, and I look forward to getting into the next one in the series.

I also have, for an example of sleuthing without modern forensic techniques, an omnibus edition of the first two Brother Cadfael books. It appears Brother Cadfael is an herbalist, so I’m anxious to see how the author uses her sleuth’s herbal skills to solve the murders in these books.

In addition to these other fiction books for study, I have Dead Beat by Jim Butcher. This, I think, may come closest to what I’m writing. If I remember the cover flap synopsis, the sleuth is a detective set in an urban fantasy world. I can’t recall if he’s a police detective, or a PI, though. Could pick the book up and read it, but I’m feeling too lazy. LOL

For my fourth and final initial check-out of books relating to the mystery genre, I got How to Write a Damn Good Mystery by James N. Frey. This book has already helped me a great deal. It’s put things in easy to understand instructions which are helping instead of hindering me. Usually when I read a how-to book, I get so hooked up in following the instructions given that I forget the rest of what I’m doing and focus on what “should” be done only. I’m maybe four or five chapters into this book, and so far all the “shoulds” are actually what I consider to be good advice. Also, in one of the chapters of this book, Frey lists a few writers whose books I’m going to look for at the library and as ebooks to buy for more ideas on how to handle different aspects of my own mystery books—and also simply because the books interest me somehow. I plan on buying an ebook of this how-to so I can use it on the rest of my JID series.

So that’s what I’m doing so far in my quest to write at least one Fantasy Mystery novel. Thus far, it’s been great fun, and I’m really enjoying the process.