A murder mystery in Key Largo, Florida. Started at sunrise on a Sunday, and will end at sunset sometime towards the end of the book!

by Stella Marie
(Boca Raton, Florida but moving to Owensboro, Kentucky)

Question: I'm trying to write a murder mystery with 3 murders being committed. One in the 1st chapter, one in the middle and a surprise squeeze in murder towards the end!. Just when everyone thought there were only two murders throughout most of the book!!! Also, I'm moving to Owensboro, Kentucky so should my last murder still be in the Keys or somewhere in Kentucky? I know for sure that I want my readers to want to buy my next book so I'm thinking to end it in a way that they will have to buy my next book to fill in the dots, so to speak!!! So, I'm thinking that maybe I won't add in actually solving the last murder where it could've been done like 2 or 3 different ways!?!? but, how do I get to that point...THE PLOT!!!!!

Answer: I can't write your book for you, but here are a couple of thoughts...

1. Using a setting you're familiar with makes things easier.

2. It's usually a good idea to give your book a satisfying resolution. So I would suggest you solve the main mystery.

However, if you want to leave the reader hungering for a sequel, consider solving that mystery in a way that opens up another, perhaps deeper, mystery.

There are plenty of examples in crime fiction where the detective/protagonist solves the main crime to the satisfaction of his boss and/or others affected by it, but is left with nagging doubts or a confusion over something that no one else cares about but may be a problem later.

Consider the classic film Chinatown. At the start of the story, Jake, the detective, is haunted by an incident that happened years ago when he was unable to protect the life of an innocent. Then he gets involved in solving a murder in the present, but in the course of that investigation he stumbles upon another crime, committed by someone who is untouchable. He also becomes involved with a woman who is another innocent victim, and who has an innocent daughter. Though he is able to solve the murder (bringing about resolution), he fails to save the woman (who dies in the final reel) or protect the daughter from peril. Even though his friend tells him to "forget it" and no one else seems to care, Jake and the viewer know that there is more to do (hence an eventual sequel).

Hope that helps.

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