How Did I End Up Here?

When did I become a mystery author? Or rather when did I become aware that I wanted to be, not just a mystery author, but an historical mystery writer. I’ve wondered about that a lot lately, for some reason.
I may have noticed it while browsing paperbacks at my local bookstore. I might have picked it up in the school library. I remember that it had something to do with Ellery Queen’s famous challenge (paraphrased here) – “Dear Reader, you are now in possession of all the clues and should be able to solve the mystery.” But I remember reacting strongly to the challenge. I remember thinking, “well, if he can think it up, I can figure it out.” Of course I couldn’t. In fact, I’m not sure that I ever conquered the Queen challenge. But I never gave up trying. And I read them all, every single one.

Though I read some Agatha Christie, I was never taken with Christie’s novels as I was Queen’s. But, as I grew, my reading habits changed a little. Ellery Queen novels mixed with the historical novels of Kenneth Roberts, Esther Forbes and Irene Hunt. Then enter the novels of Fletcher Knebel – The Zinzin Road, Night of Camp David, Dark Horse. I was addicted to political thrillers. Fletcher Knebel became Frederick Forsyth became Robert Ludlum became David Ignatius. But I also discovered George MacDonald Fraser and the Flashman series and John Maddox Roberts’ SPQR mysteries. And with that I was hooked on historical mysteries.

But I never quite lost my love of Ellery Queen and his version of Dupin’s ratiocination, and when my love of reading mysteries turned to a passion for writing them, I couldn’t help but be influenced by Frederick Dannay and Manfred Lee’s creation. In my first two mysteries, I tried out both William Shakespeare as Sherlock Holmes and Ernest Hemingway as Dr. John Watson, so to speak. And though I was not dissatisfied with the results, I still hadn’t found what I was looking for.

Years passed, and I spent some years traveling the world, wondering if perhaps I was destined for something other than mystery writing. But on a layover at Gatwick Airport one night, I happened on the idea that became my Arthurian mystery series, and, suddenly, I was back in the historical mystery world. Now, I’ve returned to Shakespeare for Perseverance Press and am having a ball.

I am happy as a mystery author now. I consider it a proud and honorable distinction, and, for me, a natural evolution from mystery fan.

After all, everybody loves a mystery. Right?

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