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Books - Mystery & Thrillers - Writing

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$15.61
1. How to Write a Damn Good Mystery:
$14.87
2. Crime Writers Reference Guide
$11.04
3. Writing Mysteries: A Handbook
$10.78
4. You Can Write a Mystery (You Can
$8.47
5. Three Uses of the Knife: On the
6. The Writer's Complete Crime Reference
$11.90
7. The Weekend Novelist Writes A
8. Just the Facts, Ma'Am: A Writer's
$11.86
9. Plotting and Writing Suspense
$11.01
10. Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment
$15.00
11. How to Write a Mystery
$19.84
12. The Illustrated Olive Farm: A
13. Rip-Off: A Writer's Guide to Crimes
14. Private Eyes: A Writer's Guide
15. Writing the Modern Mystery (Genre
$23.95
16. Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and
17. The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life
18. The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers:
19. Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide
20. Murder One: A Writer's Guide to

1. How to Write a Damn Good Mystery: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide from Inspiration to Finished Manuscript
by St. Martin's Press
Hardcover (12 February, 2004)
list price: $22.95 -- our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0312304463
Sales Rank: 192803
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great guide .. but come prepared.
Sure, the author offers many opinions as facts and writes as if his way is the only way. So? He still gives PLENTY of solid advice, and so this book must be read with an open mind. The only reason I purchased it was because I am working on a cross-genre novel, and am quite unfamiliar with writing mysteries. I knew not where to start. Thus, while reading this book, I understand that I am breaking many of the "rules" that the author states, for this is the art of fiction.
2-0 out of 5 stars Poor examples
Do not waste your time reading this book. Read Carolyn Wheat's Funhouse of mystery and suspense. This book is ok, but not great. The examples he uses are mostly from his own books. These examples are terrible. You will be able to write a mystery after you read this book, but not a "damn good" as evidenced by the popularity of Frey's own books.If Frey could have written a "damn good" mystery, then why hasn't he.

1-0 out of 5 stars A JAW-DROPPER
I was stunned when I started reading the Introduction and found a misspelled interjection - an eye-popping `viol�' right in the first paragraph of the book! I felt so offended to be presented with such a sloppy mistake in - what is supposed to be - the most critical hook for the reader that the next thing I did was ... voil� ... return the book and get my money back. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Fiction    3. Detective and mystery stories    4. Mystery fiction    5. Reference    6. Technique    7. Writing Skills    8. Reference / Writing Skills   


2. Crime Writers Reference Guide
by Michael Wiese Productions
Paperback (01 February, 2003)
list price: $20.95 -- our price: $14.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0941188493
Sales Rank: 257579
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Features

  • Illustrated

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money
I'm not sure what the other reviewers found so compelling.I found little here other than pages and pages of lists.Some examples: 6pp. of LAPD police radio codes, 3pp. of FBI case classifications, 16pp. of org charts for the LA County Sherrif's Dept.My favorite, however, is the full page devoted to a listing of "Weapons Used by Criminals" which begins "Acid, Air gun, Ax, Bayonet, Bazooka, Billy Club..."Well, you get the idea.The portions of the book not devoted to lists tend to be laughably superficial (e.g., "Street gangs now battle over who sells the drugs and where."Really, thanks.)Granted, there are suggestions for further reading, but my advice would be to save yourself some money and do your readers a favor -- do your own research.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spice up your writing
I don't usually write crime novels, but when I decided to try my hand at suspence I realized just how much help I needed. I searched through many reference books and found The Crime Writers Reference Guide by Martin Roth to be a savior for me.It gives great tips on investigating, cops, the courts, illegal drugs, the prison system and crime. A handy book to have by your computer when you need to amp up a scene or two or just need to be factual.I found the investigation, crime and prison chapters to be especially helpful. Plus, at the end of each chapter is a "Where to go from here" that gives you extra resources to look up, so you don't have to stop with this book and you have the titles and authors of others to investigate.A great companion to this book is one I found by accidenttitled "Crime Scene"by Larry Ragle. I wrote a review on that one too, so go there and check that out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Individual chapters cover what a writer most needs to know
The Crime Writer's Reference Guide: 1001 Tips For Writing The Perfect Murder by Martin Roth is a detailed resource especially intended for aspiring authors of mysteries, suspense thrillers, action/adventure crime novels, true crime stories, and police procedurals novels. Individual chapters cover what a writer most needs to know in order to avoid common errors and misconceptions when writing about crime, criminals, police, courts, and prisons. A highly recommended basic primer, this edition of The Crime Writer's Reference Guide is enhanced with a new Foreword and updated information supplied by Rey Verdugo, a former police officer, a top criminal investigator, and a technical consultant for film and television projects. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Fiction    3. Crime    4. Criminal justice, Administration of    5. Detective and mystery stories    6. Handbooks, manuals, etc    7. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    8. Reference    9. United States    10. Writing Skills    11. Creative writing guides    12. Language Arts & Disciplines / Composition & Creative Writing    13. Non-Classifiable    14. Reference/Writing Skills   


3. Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America
by Writer's Digest Books
Paperback (April, 2002)
list price: $16.99 -- our price: $11.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 1582971021
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

The mystery, like other stories, relies on believable characters, a strong narrative, and crisp prose. But it is also "a way of examining the dark side of human nature," says Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Help
I have other books concerning this subject. What I like about this book is that it contains chapters by different authors. There is nothing like hearing advice from the very authors that you enjoy reading so much.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate resource for Mystery Writing
Mystery Writing is an art in itself.It requires a lot of planning and preparation in order for the mystery story to work.Planting 'red herrings' and false clues in a story is an art that novice writers will have trouble in achieving with their first attempt.That is the reason why this book is so good -- it brings together the creative geniuses in the field of Mystery writing -- and these writers tell you their secrets to producing mystery.Definitely worth the money.
5-0 out of 5 stars Wide ranging and helpful
I found the book to a helpful review of everything from the unwritten rules of writing a mystery through the submission process.Personally, I enjoyed having different people present their views.I can see that it might be annoying if you want just one point of view.My advise is to read whatever section you are interested in and skip sections that you do not care about.Good job! ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Detective and mystery stories    4. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    5. Mystery fiction    6. Reference    7. Technique    8. Writing Skills    9. Creative writing guides    10. Rhetoric   


4. You Can Write a Mystery (You Can Write)
by Writer's Digest Books
Paperback (August, 1999)
list price: $12.99 -- our price: $10.78
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0898798639
Sales Rank: 55492
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Little Book That Covers Everything You Need to Write a Mystery
I first purchased this book a few years ago and read it through.Recently, I wanted to look at it again, but couldn't find it.That's why I purchased it a second time.It made a good first impression on me.After reading it again, I can see why I liked it so much.First and foremost, it isn't full of 100 to 200 pages of absolute fluff. I really like the way that it gets down to the brass tacks of writing a mystery, in only 121 pages of text.If I wanted to read a gazillion examples of fiction, I'd just read fiction.This book has just enough concise examples to make the point clear (when examples are needed), and they're always relevant to the topic, unlike many writing books. What you'll get in this book is good solid information, and a good bit of it could easily be applied to other genres.If you're thinking about writing mysteries and you're new to writing, this book is a great place to start.All of the bases are covered.The "Writing Lessons" section at the author's website will give you an idea of the kind of writing you will find in this book.In this book, you'll find ideas about things like "What has to happen before the rest can happen?"You'll also get information about developing false leads, avoiding mystery story cliches, organizing your ideas, and getting past the midbook blues -- just to name a few.If you're an experience writer, you'll probably find plenty of good nuggets in this book.If you're just getting started, buy this book.It's that simple.

1-0 out of 5 stars Pedantic rules but also occasionalvaluable advice
One of the great selling points of this book is the "15 commandments of writing." These rules and advice are terrific, but the book goes on to list many do's and don't's about the process of writing. Inadvertently, I think that the author hasdone too much much to set down rules than to teach about inspirationand creativity. On the other hand, many of her rules are soimewhat good and are based on solid principles of writing. At this price, you will be hard-pressed to find something similar besides "Writing Mysteries" by Sue Grafton, which is much better by far

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Starter Book
Gillian Roberts puts together an excellent resource for any writer pursuing publication in the mystery genre. Her lessons are hard-boiled and practical. For example, her first chapter launches the reader into a series of commandments "for mystery writers who want to be published." These include, among others: think like a professional, overcome writer's block, don't wait for the muse, and don't self-edit prior to completing the first draft.Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - General    3. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    4. Detective and mystery stories    5. Language    6. Language Arts & Disciplines    7. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    8. Mystery And Suspense Fiction    9. Mystery fiction    10. Technique    11. Writing Skills    12. Literary & Linguistic Reference Works    13. Rhetoric   


5. Three Uses of the Knife: On the Nature and Purpose of Drama
by Vintage
Paperback (13 June, 2000)
list price: $11.00 -- our price: $8.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 037570423X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Playwright David Mamet's three lectures at Columbia University are ostensibly about issues of dramatic structure, but as they unfold, and Mamet continually explores the relationship between dramatic structure and the lives we live, much broader concerns are revealed. Here, for example, is Mamet on political propaganda:Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars A contemporary poetic.
This book is a great essay about dramaturgy and politics that evolves some philosophical and psychological theories.
5-0 out of 5 stars My Copy Is Torn To Shreds!
I bought this book when it first came out in hardcover. It was about triple the price that it is now on Amazon, and many people I knew thought I was insane to buy such a small book for a high price. 1-0 out of 5 stars fundamentalist brainstorm
This reads like a weekend brainstorm into the dictaphone, or party-chatter with metropolitan friends. First glance - you've got the large font, wide-margins and generous line-spacing to pad these notes out into a book. Then you notice that nearly every paragraph includes several parenthetical thoughts (like I just had another way-outer to squeeze in here, okay?), plus quoted after-thoughts (sorry, couldn't find "the right words" just then, you know?) - and foreign phrases swept in from every part of the old country - like this gem: "This pronunciamento can be taken as a jejune promise". Footnoted brain-sprinkles complete the overall intellectual profile of this work.Read more

Subjects:  1. American    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Play/Scriptwriting    3. Drama    4. General    5. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    6. Performing Arts/Dance    7. Shakespeare    8. Technique    9. Crime & mystery    10. Drama / General   


6. The Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book
by Writers Digest Books
Hardcover (June, 1993)
list price: $19.99
Isbn: 0898795648
Sales Rank: 510746
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book to use as a starting point.
I am really intrigued whenever I read a brand new mystery or suspense thriller, which is why I thought about writing mystery short stories. Hence, I purchased this reference book in hopes that it will inform me about everything I need to know behind law enforcement. It does give details on the legal system, the police force and criminals. The author discusses crimes and has a lists of weapons. It does provide minor information on police procedure and "cop talk." In addition, there are extensive lists on books to look at for more information. However, this book does have its flaws. It only contains brief paragraphs on some topics, so don't rely entirely on this book for information to write your novel or short story. It is a detailed book, but does not include as much info. as I had originally hoped.

5-0 out of 5 stars LOTS of info
I have to agree the book was very complete. It was a bit more than I could often use in my romance writing but trust me... if I needed even the smallest crime detail, it was in there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stop Talking to the Police!
This book is your guide to the police department. No more countless hours of interviewing the police to learn about procedures and organization.Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Crime    4. Criminology    5. Detective and mystery stories    6. General    7. Handbooks, manuals, etc    8. Mystery And Suspense Fiction    9. Reference    10. United States    11. Novels, other prose & writers    12. Writing & editing guides   


7. The Weekend Novelist Writes A Mystery
Paperback (06 April, 1998)
list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0440506581
Sales Rank: 87655
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

2-0 out of 5 stars Weekend novelist? Probably not.
Writing fiction is like painting a landscape. A lot of artists can do it, and each one has an individual way they do it. It is the same with writing. Many people have written good novels; each one approaches it differently. So when someone like Ray Robert tells you how it's done, don't believe him. I'm not saying that his method doesn't work for him. What I am saying is it probably won't work for you. (It didn't work for me.) You have to figure out what works for you. Check out Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you only get one book....
This was the single most helpful book I found to help complete the process of writing an entire mystery.Its most valuable section is on plotting, devoting the appropriate amount of time and space to each of the critical parts of a novel.Much of the advice here is to be found else where--the back story, the characters, the scene writing--but is better organized and more comprehensible in this volume.So, if you plan to only buy or use one book on writing, this is the one I believe would be the best place to concentrate your time and money.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
I bought this book to learn more about creating a suspenseful story (not necessarily a traditional mystery novel).It was successful in that respect, but the biggest benefit I reaped was all the help in plotting (a weakness of mine).High recommended. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Detective and mystery stories    4. Do-It-Yourself    5. Language Arts & Disciplines    6. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    7. Writing Skills    8. Creative writing guides    9. Reference / Writing Skills    10. Writing    11. Mystery   


8. Just the Facts, Ma'Am: A Writer's Guide to Investigators and Investigation Techniques (Howdunit)
by Writer's Digest Books
Paperback (September, 1998)
list price: $16.99
Isbn: 089879823X
Sales Rank: 450041
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not The Answer.
The book reminds me of a recruiting tool for the police academy at Podunk Community College. And it's just the thing for someone who has zero experience with law enforcement and investigations. But the scope of the book is superficial. Plus you never get a sense of what detective work is really like.
5-0 out of 5 stars The non-professional's roadmap
This book is an excellent resource for writers who want to imbue their stories with the authentic details of unnatural death but don't really have all the tools and training of a full-time medical examiner or police investigator. Maybe the life of a real cop isn't as exciting as portrayed on TV, but neither is it as shallow. In my case, as a crime author, the text was an invaluable reference, putting some highly technical material into easily digested context. Recommended for writers of all kinds who need a good reference work on the myriad ways to die.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
This is a very good book.Not only does it contain a great deal of information about investigation techniques but the author also manages to convey, in great depth, the emotional aspects of the business.I definitely recommend this book. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - General    3. Composition & Creative Writing - Nonfiction    4. Criminal investigation    5. Detective and mystery stories    6. Handbooks, manuals, etc    7. Language    8. Mystery And Suspense Fiction    9. Private investigators    10. Reference    11. Writing Skills    12. Crime & criminology    13. Rhetoric    14. Writing & editing guides   


9. Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction
by St. Martin's Press
Paperback (September, 2001)
list price: $13.95 -- our price: $11.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 031228666X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Suspense, like other genre fiction, is often assumed to be inferior in quality to more "serious" fiction. A suspense story can be every bit as well-wrought as any other, argues Patricia Highsmith in Read more

Reviews (17)

2-0 out of 5 stars Mostly for Highsmith fans
I found this book enjoyable to read, but not very useful as a practical guide. Written almost like an interview, Highsmith details the writing of her various books and short stories. If you're a fan of hers (as I am), these stories are entertaining since they show the genesis of her ideas and insights into her writing.
3-0 out of 5 stars No Suspense Here
Patricia Highsmith is a fine writer of suspense fiction, one of the better ones of the past generation.But, Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction has none whatsoever: no intrique, no gueswork at all as to where she is going. Rather, she is only frank, brutally honest, and above all, to her credit, refrains from Lordly preachments as to the craft of writing in this genre.There are no exercises, no checklists, no workbook atmosphere, not the remotest hint of finger waving, teacherly reprimands surrounding this book. #####I got curiouser and curiouser as I read, wondering when the directional thrust would evolve.It never did.If you're expecting her to tell you to put down the newspaper and turn off the tv, forget it. Instead, she tells you, in effect, if you want to make the world a better place, plant flowers in your front yard.#####The closest she gets to a heartily advocated position in the entire book is in stressing that you must, firstly, write to please yourself.If you've read all the great works in your genre, and are satisfied with your own when you hold it up to the light of comparison, you're probably knocking out good stuff.It all starts there: your own self-satisfaction.Precious wisdom, indeed.#####When I open a book on the writing craft I ecxpect a big variety of things.I ask myself, is it going to be another gung-ho, Gen. George S. Patton entreaty, a kick-ass approach to blowing away all obstacles?Is it going to be a back-to-school lesson?Maybe a biting commentary on the plight of the book publishing business.Are all the barriers going to be highlighted, and followed withurgings which subconsciously cause a sense of desperastion, like borrowing last-resort money to save the family farm?.You just never know what the "slant" will be.It could be any one of a number.#####Highsmith opts for a sort of combination semi-autobiography / musings-on-writing treatise.Inspirational?No.Educational?Not really.A good look at the bell-shaped curve of life from a talented writer's viewpoint?Yes.It's like getting an Insider's look, from the outside. Whatever value you might get from this perspective is for only you to determine.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining
I'm glad I bought this book.As an author of suspense myself, I found it very worthwhile.It won't teach you how to write--but I've found no book can really do that.In the same vein as Stephen Kings book On Writing, it is more an account about how this highly successful author developed her craft over the years, her successes and failures.If you want a how to guide you would be better off with another title.It also enhances the enjoyment of this book if the reader is familiar with Highsmith's books.I found it interesting to know where she got her ideas and how she developed a small incident into a novel. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Composition & Creative Writing - General    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Creative writing    4. Detective and mystery stories    5. Language    6. Language Arts & Disciplines    7. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    8. Suspense fiction    9. Technique   


10. Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography
by Ballantine Books
Paperback (27 February, 2001)
list price: $12.95 -- our price: $11.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0345442121
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

"At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest," wrote Samuel Johnson, and bestselling crime writer P.D. James took this maxim as a challenge, setting out to record "one year that otherwise might be lost." The result is a fascinating and reflective account, part diary and part memoir, of one very full year of Baroness James's life, interspersed with her memories and intelligent analysis of "what it was like to be born two years after the end of the First World War and to live for seventy-eight years in this tumultuous century." P.D. James grew up in Cambridge, England, between the wars and worked in the home office of the forensic and criminal justice departments, which sparked her interest in that area, though she did not become a published novelist until 1962 with Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Time To Be
As a fan of P.D. James' mysteries, reading her 'fragment of autobiography' served as an interesting chance to get to know the woman behind the words."A Time To Be In Earnest" is a diary written for one year of the author's life: since the original intent was publication, there is a formality to it and it does lack the spontaneity of emotions of other diaries.Yet that does not diminish what is written within its pages, for it is a glimpse into the everyday life of a woman, a writer, a grandmother, a public image, etc... as she reflects on the past, present, and what the future may bring.
5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most unique autobiographies you'll ever read
This has to be one of the most unique autobiographies I've ever read.The premise is brilliant.P.D. James takes one year of her life, at age 77, and as we follow her from activity to relative to meeting to book event, she also takes the time to reflect on the larger picture of her life and the people she has known for most of her life, providing historical details as a stream of conscious memory.Some of her life just isn't that interesting, but trying to manage two children and a marriage to a man who spent most of his adult life in asylums, as well as being made a Peeress of the Realm, and all of the publication minutae are pretty interesting. It is always fun to read the story of a life richly lived by an accomplished person.

4-0 out of 5 stars One Writer's Life
One reviewer said of this book, ". . . parts about the more technical aspects of book writing and publishing . . . tend to be dry and would hold more appeal to writers and those in the publishing business." These were the parts I liked best, and I'm not a writer. But I am a reader, and I've read and enjoyed most of P. D. James's books and the other books she discusses.Read more

Subjects:  1. 20th century    2. Authorship    3. Biography    4. Biography & Autobiography    5. Biography / Autobiography    6. Biography/Autobiography    7. Detective and mystery stories    8. Diaries    9. English novelists    10. Literary    11. Novelists, English    12. Personal Memoirs    13. Women    14. Biography & Autobiography / Literary   


11. How to Write a Mystery
by Ballantine Books
Paperback (09 July, 1996)
list price: $15.00 -- our price: $15.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0345397584
Sales Rank: 227104
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars Frank and informative
If nothing else, books on writing can help jumpstart your engine when writing. Mr. Beinhart's contribution to helping writers is a whodoesit (discussion on mystery writers) and a howdoit (on writing a mystery), and offers some thought-provoking insights.

2-0 out of 5 stars General
This book falls into the big category: Too general and vague to be any good for a mystery writer.
4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful, witty, and wonderful, but biased--not for cozies!
The things I love about this book are that it's clever, formally interesting, and fun to read, and that it is irreverent.It doesn't tell you to scrutinize the market and write only the sort of book that is viable and popular.It identifies the structures and details that make for pleasurable reading, and it encourages you to be innovative and unique.It sets you in the direction of thinking about the specific choices you've made for your book and how you can make them more compelling.However, this book should be called How to Write a Crime Novel, since the author is not concerned with traditional cozy mysteries--a huge portion of the mystery market, I would imagine--and admits that he doesn't understand their appeal.I would guess that if you are interested in hard-boiled crime fiction, you could get a whole education about its best and brightest here, since Beinhart's examples and analysis mine hard-boiled fiction for some amazing and entertaining material.He also offers many lists of exemplary hard-boiled writers and books.But the things the author says about cozies (and quotes others as saying about them) are unjustifiably paltry and cliched.As someone who is trying to write a cozy mystery series, I found this book extremely helpful, but not ideal. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Detective and mystery stories    4. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    5. Mystery fiction    6. Reference    7. Technique    8. Writing Skills    9. Reference / Writing Skills   


12. The Illustrated Olive Farm: A Newly Written, Illustrated Companion to Her Bestselling Trilogy
Hardcover (28 March, 2006)
list price: $27.95 -- our price: $19.84
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0297844040
Sales Rank: 242969
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Subjects:  1. Agribusiness    2. Description And Travel    3. Essays & Travelogues    4. Industries - Agribusiness    5. Pictorials    6. Travel    7. Travel - General    8. Biography: general    9. MYSTERY - MYSTERY TRD HC    10. Travel / Pictorials    11. Travel writing   


13. Rip-Off: A Writer's Guide to Crimes of Deception (Howdunit)
by Writer's Digest Books
Paperback (August, 1998)
list price: $16.99
Isbn: 0898798272
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Something tells us we would be naïve to believe this book would appeal solely to mystery writers. Detective Fay Faron, syndicated newspaper columnist ("Ask Rat Dog") and author ofRead more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars A decent reference
I thought this was, overall, a pretty good book. Faron, who ran her own private investigation agency for many years, gives a good overview of rip-offs of all kinds. If I want more detailed information on a specific kind of scam, there are other sources I'd likely use (most probably, talking with one of my police contacts), but I liked the overview this book gave me in that it got me thinking about a few directions I might go in my own writing.
1-0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Lousy
When I ordered this book, I was hoping for more than a cursory look at some of the great scams and cons throughout history.It fell woefully short in many respects.It seems to me that Ms. Faron has learned all she knows from watching a Discovery Channel special or movies, such as The Sting, Traveller, or Paper Moon.It provides nothing in the way of original insight or research.The author's writing style is disjointed and confused.It jumps between subjects quickly without segues.I can see how non-writers can be interested in this book, but as it sells itself as a guide to help an author with character and plot development, I expect a little more than "You might want your character to do this..."5-0 out of 5 stars Another goodie from the Howdunit Series!
This is a great book! It gives details of all types of deceptive crimes.Many of them really get you thinking, "Now how'd they do that?" Now let me tell you, this book is not ONLY for the writer.If you deal with the public (at all, and that is nearly all of us) this book is for you! It'll get you thinking back to this book each time you bump into someone, make change, or even stand in the elevator with a croud!Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - General    3. Deception    4. Forensic Science    5. Fraud investigation    6. Language    7. Mystery And Suspense Fiction    8. Publishing    9. Reference    10. Swindlers and swindling    11. United States    12. Writing Skills    13. Rhetoric    14. Writing & editing guides   


14. Private Eyes: A Writer's Guide to Private Investigating (Howdunit Series)
by Writer's Digest Books
Paperback (May, 1993)
list price: $15.99
Isbn: 0898795494
Sales Rank: 520207
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars People, this is NOT real life PI information
After reading some of the other reviews, I am compelled to write again.This book contains almost no information relating to what really happens in a PI's life!The book is being marketed as a resource for mystery writers to show what goes on "behind the scenes" when working cases.I am here to tell you that if what the authors described really happened, the PI would likely find him or herself in court being sued and/or being placed under arrest for violating local, state, and Federal laws.I don't know where the authors found this "consultant" but the stories he shares quite frankly make me ill.This book does nothing but perpetuate myths and lies about the industry.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I have to say that I was really disappointed with this book.For the most part, the book is nothing more than stories of the personal experiences of a real PI.While real life stories can certainly help a writer, I would have perferred a little more facts regarding the legal aspects of private investigating and a little more information on private investigating in general instead of just mostly reading about one PI.I came away from this book not knowing much more than before I read it.I really wouldn't recommend buying it.I'd suggest purchasing JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM instead.I found it to be much more informative than this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars Skip This One
Unless you just have to own every single book in the Howdunit Series, I'd really recommend skipping this one.It did help me out a little but, for the most part, I found the information contained in this book to be useless.The authors spend way too much time talking about real PIs and their experiences.It's as if the writers are saying that you should base your fictional PI and his experiences on the real ones in this book.Do the authors not realize that a person can be sued for that?The authors even waste several pages of the book to do nothing but give physical descriptions of real PIs.The book actually takes the time to state that the average height of PIs is 5'10'' and the average weight is 175. Why exactly is that important?A PI can look like whatever a writer wants him or her to look like.The PI can be a little green man from Mars if the writer wants him to be.Although if the PI is a Martian, then the writer obviously isn't shooting for realism and doesn't need a book to help them be more realistic in the first place.The authors also spend too much time stating that what we see on TV isn't completely realistic.Like anybody with half a brain can't figure that one out on their own.The book contains very little about laws and regulations, which was what I was looking for.A few accounts of personal experience are fine, but I feel that the book would have been much better if there had been a lot less of that and more about each state's regulations and other things such as that. I just found this book to be a complete waste of money and time.I wouldn't recommend it. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Criminal investigation    4. Detective and mystery stories    5. Handbooks, manuals, etc    6. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    7. Mystery And Suspense Fiction    8. Private investigators    9. Reference    10. Writing Skills    11. Security services    12. Writing & editing guides   


15. Writing the Modern Mystery (Genre Writing Series)
by Writers Digest Books
Paperback (March, 1992)
list price: $14.99
Isbn: 0898795230
Sales Rank: 648138
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars If you're gonna write--
If you're gonna write, you need this book. Disregard the title. This book speaks across the genre gap. Best plot techniques I've read yet, and I live in North Carolina, so I read a lot. A radial graph appears on page 61, and it's a great tool. THis lady knows what's she's talking about. Her ideas are clear and her lessons are understandable. You won't have to work at understanding, the difficult seems simple.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this one first!
Barbara Norville has provided the basic and advanced concepts of writing a mystery.She brings her 20+ years of experience into the book through a detailed analysis of the modern mystery, but still cautions the new writer that the genre is changing as she writes.The successful authors are theones that come up with something original.This book helps with thetechnical aspects of writing your mystery.It covers what makes a mystery,motive, plotting, the opening/middle/end, what makes a memorable character,and presenting your manuscript.I found this book very valuable.Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Creative writing    4. Detective and mystery stories    5. General    6. Mystery and detective stories    7. Reference    8. Technique   


16. Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul
by St. Martin's Press
Paperback (April, 1997)
list price: $23.95 -- our price: $23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Isbn: 0312153538
Sales Rank: 333839
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars My New Friend Dorothy
I had barely even heard of Dorothy Sayers before reading this biography. Now I feel like I have a life long friend. From her idealic childhood and education, to her fiery personality to her insatialble intellect, I was enthralled. Her love of Wilkie Collins and Dante give a glimpse into the expanse of her mind and the breadth of topics she wrote on showed the expanse of her talent. I was especially moved by her love and committement to her country in time of war-inspiring. Her personal life was usually a shambles but so it seems to go with women of such brilliance. If you love liturature you will love this biography!

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful biographies I have ever read!
An amazing look at the life of this incredible Christian woman!This book dives into the depths of her mind and her life.No secret or interesting fact is spared in this delightful biography.I recommend it to anyone interested in the life of this fascinating visionary.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anything But Whimsical
Dorothy L. Sayers did more in her life than just create the aristocratic detective Lord Peter Wimsey. In addition to writing the Wimsey novels and short stories, she was one of the first female graduates of Oxford, a translator of Dante, a poet and a Christian apologist whose reputation at the time rivaled that of C.S. Lewis. Read more

Subjects:  1. 20th century    2. Authors, English    3. Authorship    4. Biography    5. Biography & Autobiography    6. Biography / Autobiography    7. Biography/Autobiography    8. Detective and mystery stories    9. English authors    10. Literary    11. Sayers, Dorothy L. (Dorothy Leigh), 1893-1957   


17. The Red Hot Typewriter: The Life and Times of John D. MacDonald
by St. Martin's Minotaur
Hardcover (12 August, 2000)
list price: $24.95
Isbn: 0312209053
Sales Rank: 467593
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Life and Times and We miss you JDM!
Good book, enjoyable read.I am a author myself and I enjoy books about the great ones of our times.I would have liked more insight into the inner world of John D, but this is a still a must for fans of his work.

3-0 out of 5 stars rather bland and superficial
I am a long time MacDonald fan, and have read most everything he wrote. I once made the pilgrimage to Bahia Mar to see the `Busted Flush' plaque mounted there.2-0 out of 5 stars Phone it in next time...
How do you write a biography of a man and not talk to anyone who knew him, not visit anyplace he lived, and not include any photographs of the man or his family? It's easy: you write brief introductions to letters and passages from the writer's books, and call it a biography.The Red Hot Typewriter isn't red or hot.It is a color-by-numbers biography that is in the end colorless.A massive disappointment if you're a John D. fan, or a fan of good biography. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. (John Dann),    2. 1916-1986    3. 20th century    4. Authorship    5. Biography    6. Biography & Autobiography    7. Biography / Autobiography    8. Biography/Autobiography    9. Detective and mystery stories    10. Detective and mystery stories,    11. Detective and mystery stories, American    12. Historical - U.S.    13. History and criticism    14. Literary    15. MacDonald, John D    16. Macdonald, John D. - Prose & Criticism    17. Novelists, American    18. Biography & Autobiography / Literary   


18. The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers: 1899-1936: The Making of a Detective Novelist
by St. Martin's Press
Hardcover (15 March, 1996)
list price: $26.95
Isbn: 0312140010
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

C.S. Lewis suggested that Dorothy Sayers's letters would one day be recognized as among the finest epistles produced in the 20th century. In fact, this first volume, covering the years from Sayers's early childhood to the later years of personal tragedy and literary triumph, shows a broad-ranging talent and reveals a rich life full of language study, poetry, and books.Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lady of Letters . . .
As Baroness P. D. James states in her preface to this engrossing book, "we have what is in effect an epistolary autobiography" of the young Dorothy L. Sayers, from age five to forty-three, when the authorbecame the household word that she is today. (Later letters comprise volumetwo.)Read more

Subjects:  1. (Dorothy Leigh),    2. 1893-1957    3. 20th century    4. Authorship    5. Biography / Autobiography    6. Biography/Autobiography    7. Correspondence    8. Detective and mystery stories    9. Literary    10. Sayers, Dorothy L    11. Women authors    12. Women authors, English    13. Literary Criticism & Collections / Mystery & Detective Fiction   


19. Modus Operandi: A Writer's Guide to How Criminals Work (Howdunit)
by Betterway Books
Paperback (March, 1995)
list price: $16.99
Isbn: 0898796490
Sales Rank: 722893
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertained Reader
I bought this book, and read it many weeks ago but forgot to write a review over. Honestly I enjoyed the book, and it was terrific entertainment for me the evening I read it in which I remember well.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Reference for Crime Writers
Modus Operandi is a great reference book for writers who want to understand how criminals work. Written by two detectives who draw heavily on their experience the book is a packed with useful information ranging from con artists to murderers, carjackers to smugglers. What makes this book good is that it not only covers how the crimes are committed, but also the psychology behind the criminal, police slang and inside information. This is a definite "must have" reference for crime writers.

2-0 out of 5 stars Very basic without good research into the subject matter
This book was a surprise based on the excellence of the others in the Howdunit series.Usually these books provide well researched and accurate information for criminal fiction authors.This particular book, however, seems to focus only on what the author(s) were able to glean from other writing books, and contains many mis-statements and incorrect information.A far superior book in this series is Malicious Intent, which covers everything that Modus Operandi does, but in a clearer and more accurate form. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    3. Crime    4. Crime And Criminals    5. Crime writing    6. Detective and mystery stories    7. General    8. Reference    9. Research   


20. Murder One: A Writer's Guide to Homicide (Howdunit Series)
by Writer's Digest Books
Paperback (June, 1997)
list price: $16.99
Isbn: 089879773X
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Read more

Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars An Addition To Your Reference Library, Not A Stand-Alone
Murder One contains a lot of case studies of actual crimes. It also details motives and methods on all sorts of crimes including drug distribution, parents who kill their children and serial killers.4-0 out of 5 stars ?Murder One? is a good, broad, writer?s guide to homicide.
"Murder One" accomplishes its purpose: It is a good writer's guide to homicide. Its breadth dictates lack of deep detail. It covers murder: weapons, business murders, narcotics murders, gang murders, organized-crimemurders, contract murders, crime-of-passion murders and thrill/lust,sexual, mass, serial, vehicular and bizarre murders.1-0 out of 5 stars Poorly written book.
The main drawback of this book is that the poor chapters about different types of homicide are not followed by any further literature. ... Read more

Subjects:  1. Authorship    2. Composition & Creative Writing - Fiction    3. Composition & Creative Writing - General    4. Composition & Creative Writing - Genre Fiction    5. Crime    6. Crime writing    7. Detective and mystery stories    8. Language    9. Language Arts & Disciplines    10. Language Arts / Linguistics / Literacy    11. Mystery And Suspense Fiction    12. Research    13. Novels, other prose & writers    14. Writing & editing guides   


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