Today I'm delighted to welcome
for her The Death of Mrs Westaway blog tour
to share her BEST OF CRIME ...
It's too hard to pick just one overall, so I am going to cheat a little and pick an author that had a huge influence of The Death of Mrs W - which has to be Daphne du Maurier. She is wonderful at setting, but most of all, I think she is an expert at taking you inside the mind of her protagonist, immersing you into their fears and hopes and suspicions in a way that I aspire to do.
Oooh... tough one... I'm torn between Dial M For Murder, which I just adore, and Gaslight. Both are wonderful studies in female paranoia-or-is-it - that growing sense that something is wrong, when everyone is telling you it's not. Gaslight deserves to be far better known, though it has given us the psychological abuse term "gaslighting" - to persuade something that they are suffering from paranoia and imagining things when really they are in the right.
... TV DRAMAS
I'm a sucker for Murder She Wrote. What can I say - I just love everything about it. Jessica Fletcher is who Nancy Drew aspires to be when she grows up.
... FICTIONAL KILLERS
I have a soft spot for the killers in Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers - I can't say anything more without spoiling the plot, but it's so ingeniously done.
... FICTIONAL DETECTIVES
It has to be Miss Marple. Jessica Fletcher aside, there are simply not enough kick-ass old ladies in fiction, and Miss Marple is doing her best to redress the scale.
... MURDER WEAPONS
Mmm.... it's probably the frozen leg of lamb in Roald Dahl's Lamb to the Slaughter. Partly because it's so ingenious, and partly because my own grandmother almost (unintentionally) did for my father in the same way, when she bopped him playfully on the head with the Sunday joint, not realising it was still frozen.
... DEATH SCENES
I think it has to be the scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent (John Travolta) shoots Marvin (Phil LaMarr) in the face by accident in the middle of a conversation. It's so brilliantly shocking and yet banal the first time you see it - I watched the film in the cinema and I remember the horrified screech from the audience followed by the nervous disbelieving laughter as the situation sunk in. In a film (and industry) in which violence is fetishised and feted and choreographed, it's a clever reminder that in real life it's often just dumb and random.
I actually don't follow a whole lot of crime blogs and websites because that doesn't tend to be the aspect of my books that I spend most time researching. For example for The Death of Mrs Westaway, the thing I spent most time researching was actually tarot, which features quite heavily in the plot. In my books the crime itself is often comparatively unimportant in a weird way - it happens off screen or in the past, so my focus isn't on that, it's more on character and how people interact, which you can research anywhere from Reddit to Facebook to just plain old real life. However I did love the podcast Serial, in spite of having some moral reservations about the effect on real life people of how it was played out.
... WRITING TIPS
Just crack on and do it, is my advice. You can find endless excuses to procrastinate - waiting for the perfect tranch of clear time, or the perfect plot, or the perfect computer or writing course. None of that really matters. If the story is good enough, the rest doesn't matter, and if it's not, then none of those factors will plaster over the cracks.
... WRITING SNACKS
Anything with cheese in / on / around. Mmmm....
About RUTH WARE
Ruth Ware is an international number one bestseller. Her thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10 and The Lying Game were smash hits, and she has appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the Sunday Timesand New York Times. The film rights to all three books have been optioned and she is published in more than 40 languages. Ruth lives near Brighton with her family.
About THE DEATH OF MRS WESTAWAY
When Harriet Westaway receives an unexpected letter telling her she’s inherited a substantial bequest from her Cornish grandmother, it seems like the answer to her prayers. She owes money to a loan shark and the threats are getting increasingly aggressive: she needs to get her hands on some cash fast.
There's just one problem - Hal's real grandparents died more than twenty years ago. The letter has been sent to the wrong person. But Hal knows that the cold-reading techniques she’s honed as a seaside fortune teller could help her con her way to getting the money. If anyone has the skills to turn up at a stranger's funeral and claim a bequest they’re not entitled to, it’s her.
Hal makes a choice that will change her life for ever. But once she embarks on her deception, there is no going back. She must keep going or risk losing everything, even her life…
The Death of Mrs Westaway was published by Harvill Secker on 28 June 2018.
Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.
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