The Real Murders That May Have Influenced My Mystery Writing

F. M. Meredith who is also known as Marilyn once lived in a beach town much like Rocky Bluff. She has many friends and relatives in law enforcement. She’s a member of MWA, 3 chapters of Sisters in Crime and serves on the PSWA Board.


Facebook: Marilyn Meredith

Twitter: @marilynmeredith

(Before I begin, my apologies to anyone who suffered the tragedy of a murdered friend or relative. I can’t even imagine the pain you went through.)

When I was growing up, my family subscribed to three newspapers, one of them, the Daily News, carried accounts of all the most horrible crimes, especially those that had anything to do with the movie industry. The one I remember most is the news report about Lana Turner’s daughter killed her mother’s boyfriend, Johnny Stampanato.

The murder that touched our family was that of a man who went to our church and was killed by his wife. She did it with an axe. The only thing I really remember was overhearing one of my mom’s friends say, “He was so boring, if he’d been my husband, I might have done the same.”

As a grown up, of course I’ve heard and read about many horrible murders, some have even given me ideas for my own mysteries. One inspired the first book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, when a police officer in our town was killed when responding to a domestic dispute.

When we moved to the foothills of the Southern Sierra, I discovered there had been a famous murder right in my new backyard—right across the Tule River. It was made into a movie, “A California Murder”, starring Cheryl Ladd. And yes, I borrowed a bit from that for one of my books though no one would ever recognize it.

Another famous murder occurred in a lodge in the mountains above us—the female owner and her handsome Native American lover were shot while they were in bed together. The woman died, the Indian recovered. I’ve used bits and pieces of this mystery in various tales.

It’s hard to understand what drives a person to take another’s life, but of course that’s the motive the detectives—and the mystery writer are both looking for. Though I have written other genres, writing a murder mystery and all it entails, including catching the bad guy, is what gives me the most satisfaction.

What about the rest of you. Readers why do your read murder mysteries—and writer, why do you write them?

Marilyn, who writes the RBPD series as F. M. Meredith

Too many people are telling lies: The husband of the murder victim and his secretary, the victim’s boss and co-workers in the day care center, her stalker, and Detective Milligan’s daughter murder her mother’s boy

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