Writing Mysteries, 2nd Ed.: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
Edited by Sue Grafton, with Jan Burke and Barry Zeman
Writers Digest Books(2002)
"Writing a novel is a long distance run of the imagination...Writers need all the help they can get, wherever they can get it..." (George C. Chesbro, p.91)
So you want to write a mystery? There's a few things you'll need for your journey, among them a healthy dose of curiousity and imagination, but nothing so important as a well-worn copy of Writing Mysteries (2nd Ed.), written by the Mystery Writers of America. Everything you'll need is here, organized into just under 300 pages of collective wisdom, from well-known and not-so-well-known mystery authors.
The handbook is divided into three parts: Preparation, The Process, and Specialties. Part I includes chapters on "The Rules and How to Bend Them," how and where writers get their ideas, the pros and cons of writing with a partner, and several chapters on research and background, all exploring different facets of these subjects.
Part II, The Process, dives right in to beginnings, middles, and endings, with specific sections focusing in-depth on characterization, creating a series character, using point of view, and developing one's personal writing style. Discussions on dialogue, pacing, and "clues, red herrings, and other plot devices" lead into the beginning of the end--thoughts and recommendations on plot, revision, agents, and markets.
Part III, Specialities, contains separate and thorough chapters each detailing a particular type of mystery writing--writing short stories, for younger audiences, true crime, e-book mysteries, and even a list of additional recommended reading and references.