One of the cool things about being a murder mystery writer is that I can contemplate people's demise without getting arrested or being outcast. In fact, many of my pals are delighted with how quickly the plot can come together once we banter about for a few minutes.
Case in point. Last night I was at a small dinner gathering in my neighborhood. The topic turned to the banging noises one neighbor heard in the middle of the night. Other neighbors have posted in our FB Group about similar 2 a.m. noises over the last several months.
Theories expressed ranged from noises ricocheting off the petroglyph escarpment that encircles the community, to teenagers (it's a 55+ community), to wildlife activity, to bad actors of some kind.
I think one of our neighbors is to blame. Someone who doesn't sleep well and has a seriously rambunctious side. They're messing with us because they find it fun.
It's a closed set - like many of Agatha Christie's mysteries - because the community is gated and the murder happens during the holidays when most are not home. Conclusion: one of the neighbors killed Stacy. Who did it?
Conversations like this happen every week. Most of them occur between me and myself, but it is not uncommon that someone will complain about some weird situation or person in a way that kicks off a fictional murder scenario.
When I decided to write murder mysteries I had no idea how it would change my everyday processing of information. I imagine this is true for most mystery writers and is perhaps one reason they can write one or two books each year. The possibilities are endless! We need to ensure our murderous thoughts remain literary and fictional, goes without saying. But aside from this caution, I like imagining my neighbors' untimely endings.
Did I just write that? Oh golly, now I'm envisioning the bad outcome for the local writer who couldn't stop killing off her neighbors in her stories. I better go walk the dog and clear my head...