Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Mystery Writer's Technical Book Shelf

DH worries too much. So I spend too much on books (says him). How can you spend too much on books, I ask?

Well, maybe it’s not the cost bothering him so much as the subject matter. I suppose it could give one a start to go for that first cup of coffee in the morning and find The Book of Poisons next to the sugar. (And me wondering all that time where I had left it!)

As a mystery writer, I work to ensure accuracy of crime scenes, murder methods, and police procedures. Reference materials and questions for public safety professionals is how I do that. I am a voracious reader of how to kill people!

In future posts, I will discuss/review the following books; for now, here’s the list. Don’t they sound like you just have to have them, too? Just so you know, I also have quite a group of craft books on mystery writing, but that’s for another time.

Another way I use these books that wasn’t the authors’ intent, I’m sure, is to search out plot point ideas. How could I kill? What are my options? Could one method mask that another was used?

On to the list: You will note all but one of these are from Writer’s Digest. They published a “Howunit Series” a number of years ago. Great idea!

Beres, D. B. (2007). Killer at Large: Criminal Profilers and the Cases They Solve! Franklin Watts.

Boertlein, John (Ed.) (2001) Howdunit: How Crimes are Committed and Solved. Writer’s Digest Books.

Chase, Elaine Raco and Ann Wingate (1996). Amateur Detectives: A Writer’s Guide to How Private Citizens Solve Criminal Cases. Writer’s Digest Books.

Corvasce, Mauro V. and Joseph R. Paglino (1997). Murder One: A Writer’s Guide to Homicide. Writer’s Digest Books.

Lofland, Lee (2007). Police Procedures & Investigation. Writer’s Digest Books.

Lyle, D.P. (2008). Forensics: A Guide for Writers. Writer’s Digest Books.

Page, David W. (1996). Body Trauma: A Writer’s Guide to Wounds and Injuries. Writer’s Digest Books.

Roth, Martin (1993). The Writer’s Complete Crime Reference Book. Writer’s Digest Books.

Stevens, Serita Deborah and Anne Klarner (1990). Deadly Doses: A Writer’s Guide to Poisons. Writer’s Digest Books.

Stevens, Serita and Anne Bannon (2007). Book of Poisons: A Guide for Writers. Writer’s Digest Books.

Wilson, Keith D. (1992). Cause of Death: A Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder, & Forensic Medicine. Writer’s Digest Books.

With this kind of bedtime reading material, should DH worry?

Nah! Really.

Then again, I am writing a short story about a mystery writer’s husband who is beginning to suspect she will kill for real and not just virtually. What research will I have to do for that?


  1. This looks like a great list. Many thanks-and husbands beware.

    1. Thanks, so much, Frances for coming by to read and comment. I wanted to help the research of my fellow killers, er, that is authors! lol

  2. *wicked grin* I love your thinking, and your books, can't wait to read more posts. :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping in. Do you have some of the books I list? This is a fun blog that goes in lots of directions. Hope to see you here again, 40Plus!

  3. I notice you have a book by Lee Lofland on the list - have you attended his Writer's Police Academy? I'm travelling from Australia to attend this year, having read so many good things about it. Glad to find your blog through the A to Z challenge, I've bookmarked it!

    1. Catherine, I have not attended it, but I,too, hear it is wonderful. Maybe next year as I am so booked with travel already this year. And I think registration is closed for this year. Thanks for reading and responding!