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Mystery: February 07, 2024 Issue [#12399]

 This week: Why did they do it?
  Edited by: Arakun the Twisted Raccoon
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Quote for the week:

"Mystery spread its cloak across the sky.
We lost our way.
Shadows fell from trees
They knew why."

~ From "House of Four Doors" by the Moody Blues

Word from our sponsor

Letter from the editor

Whenever we hear news of a murder, one of the first questions we ask is "Why would anyone do that?"

Unless an obvious suspect is caught at the scene, police often begin their investigation by trying to find out who might have a motive to harm the victim. Along with means and opportunity, motive is one of the three indicators of suspicion law enforcement officers use in searching for potential suspects. While motive by itself isn't enough to prove a suspect is guilty, it can help lead investigators in the right direction.

Some motives, such as love, money, or revenge become quite obvious as the suspects are investigated. Others might only make sense to the person who committed the crime. This is especially true of serial killers who target people they don't know. For example, Ted Bundy's victims often had similar physical characteristics to a girlfriend who had broken up with him. In these cases, figuring out what the victims have in common might be the best way to find a suspect.

When writing a mystery story, it is necessary to establish possible motives for several suspects, so the real culprit won't be too obvious too soon. Throughout the story, each suspect can be cleared until only the guilty party remains. Some suspects might have an alibi while the suspected motive for others might be proven false. For example, a suspect who hated the victim might have wanted them to remain alive so they could punish them in other ways.

Some real life criminals have been convicted in spite of the absence of an apparent motive. One example is Chad Isaak, who was convicted of killing four people in the office of RJR Property Management in Mandan, ND on April 1, 2019. Isaak was convicted based on security video and DNA analysis, but his only connection to the victims was that he lived on a rental property they managed. The company had no records of any negative interactions with Isaak and stated that they had not considered him a problem tenant. Isaak maintained his innocence throughout the trial and after he was sentenced to four consecutive life terms. He committed suicide in prison a year later, taking the secret of any motive he might have had to the grave.

Even though proving motive is not necessary to convict a suspect, a mystery story is more satisfying to the reader if a motive can be shown. Maybe the true mystery might be finding the motive.

Something to try: Write a mystery story where everyone who knew the victim has a motive.

Editor's Picks

The Fun of Fishing  (E)
Mark has time to kill
#2101720 by WakeUpAndLive️~🚬🚭2024

A short story about two Kentucky friends: one Virgil Beaver.
#1321995 by Maria Mize

Twenty-nine  (13+)
There's some things in this world you can't explain. (2142 w) Winner: 2020 Quill Awards.
#2235558 by Nightkeeper

Founder's Day Fireworks  (13+)
The high-browed community's celebrations are marred by revenge.
#2304592 by Okay, Joey's full of Blarney

The Universe is a Rubik's Cube  (13+)
I just wanted the girl I lost back.
#1583306 by Kotaro

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