Dark Secrets and Dastardly Lies: Ramping Up a Killer Plot

Secrets and the lies required to keep them are incredibly destructive in real life, but they are the stuff mystery fiction is made of, the raw materials of the genre. Mysteries involve crime—usually murder—and the stories begin by posing a simple question: Who killed the victim and why? Naturally, the killer doesn’t want that secret revealed. The police professional or amateur sleuth does. Upon that conflict hangs the plot.

The challenge for readers is to sort through the evidence—the clues and the red herrings, the secrets and the lies—to discover the truth. The challenge for authors is to keep the reader guessing until the final reveal.


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