On writing short-short mysteries for Mom

DandelionMom always liked whodunnits best; Sue Grafton’s alphabet mysteries were favorites. I realized there was a problem when I noticed the bookmark in V is for Vengeance never moved past page ten.

She has dementia; the neurologist said it’s probably Alzheimer’s disease. For Mom, the words on the printed page disappear from memory like dandelion fluff scattered in a summer breeze.

Her cognitive abilities have diminished too, so Mom couldn’t think up alternatives to her familiar way of reading mysteries. She just gave up reading.

I decided short stories were the answer, so I borrowed a copy of Kwik Krimes from the library. It’s an anthology of mysteries, each a thousand words or so. I enjoyed reading it, but the stories seemed too gritty for Mom. She prefers cozies.

So then I decided to write my own. Mind you, I have no experience writing fiction, but always wondered if I could. Back to the library I went to borrow You Can Write a Mystery.

Park DetectivesMy stories are set in the national parks. The main characters, Kate and Daniel Carpenter, are retired from law enforcement — Kate as a police detective and Daniel as a medical examiner. The stories are simple; no one would confuse them with great literature. Here’s a link to the first one, “A Murder at Mount Rushmore.”

All told, I wrote eight stories, then self-published them in a thirty-two page booklet titled The Park Detectives. Mom said she liked the stories. If you think your loved one might enjoy them, the booklet’s available from lulu.com.

Molly S.


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