Are you a writer? Whether not-yet-published, or multi-published, any writer would benefit from having this neat little book close at hand whenever the muse says "Write something--now!" Thirteen women, writers of mystery novels all, offer their own unique opinions on a specific topic, valuable to a writer of any genre, not just the mystery/suspense field.
Some of these ladies--more well-known than others, perhaps--top my own favorite author lists: Barbara Paul, Ellen Hart and Marcia Muller. They may be on your list, too, but that doesn't mean that the other contributors don't have valuable insights to offer as well. For instance, Anne Wilson writes on place--the all-important setting for your novel. Her setting is a neighborhood in urban London, and the fact that she once lived there herself adds charm and poignancy to her writings, making the setting an inviting place to visit.
Joan Drury says she does it all wrong--according to most of the how-to books you may have read, but for her, it works. Being, therefore, the exception that proves the rule may prove to be enormously comforting to the beginning writer who doesn't plot out every step of the novel before sitting down to write. I simply must read her books to find out how she does it--with no advance planning at all!
Ellen Hart's novels abound with wonderful secondary characters. More than background or wall-paper, they add the incredible spice to her offerings, which frequently feature the most scrumptious sounding meals--not surprising then, to learn she'd been a chef for fifteen years before taking up writing. Main characters by themselves cannot carry any book for long, and Ms. Hart's short essay on characterization should be required reading for any writer.
Research, plots, beginnings, endings. Almost everything you'll ever need to know about writing any novel can be found right here. Well, maybe not. If you want to write really violent or extra-hard-boiled stuff, you won't find any help for that here. But for anyone else--lesson one in how to write a book should be--read this book first!