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Margaret Lucke p1

Readersvoice.com aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Margaret Lucke’s novel House of Whispers (Juno) is many things. It’s a ghost story set against a backdrop of the world of real estate. It’s also a romance. But at its heart it’s a mystery. Margaret Lucke also wrote Writing Mysteries and Writing Great Short Stories. She is currently working on her next mystery Mansion of Desire. In this interview Margaret Lucke talks about the mystery genre and twists. So let’s twist again.

In House of Whispers, Margaret Lucke’s fast-paced mystery novel, Clair Scanlan starts a new career as a real estate agent around the Bay area, near San Francisco. Ben Grant approaches Clair’s new employer, Golden Gate Properties, to sell an oceanside mansion designed by his famous brother. But the property was the scene of a multiple homicide. Four in Ben’s family died, including his famous architect brother. The official story was that one family member killed three, then himself. Clair isn’t so sure. She is also clairvoyant, and senses that the house may be somewhat occupied. These spiritual occupants warn Clair that the danger is far from over.
What follows is a well-constructed mystery. Was Ben Grant actually the murderer? Not an ideal prospect for Clair. What about the neighbor? He seemed a bit dodgy, and picked on Ben’s niece a bit. It could have been anyone, really.
Clues and red herrings are placed deftly in this fast paced novel, which is worth checking out if you’re a budding mystery writer. Also of interest to mystery writers is how Margaret Lucke packaged the novel. Sure it’s a classic mystery, but she’s added a few other things into the mix to give it a new twist. Speaking of twists, I asked Ms Lucke about the twist as a narrative device, and about other mysterious matters. When I interviewed Ms Lucke she had recently attended the Bouchercon convention for mystery writers.

READERSVOICE.COM: What did you learn about the latest in mystery writing at the Bouchercon convention?

MARGARET LUCKE: Bouchercon 2010 was great fun, and not just because it was right on my doorstep in San Francisco. For those who don’t know it, Bouchercon is the world’s largest mystery convention. It’s held annually in the autumn in a different city, and it’s a great opportunity to meet, mingle, and connect with other people who love this genre–writers, booksellers, publishing professionals, readers, and fans.

The mood this year was very upbeat. The consensus was that the mystery genre is thriving, and it offers some of the best writing and storytelling to be found in any fiction. There was a lot of talk about what direction the publishing industry may be going, especially with ebooks and other new technologies changing the game. No one is certain about what the future holds, but many writers see exciting possibilities emerging and are eager to take advantage of them.

RV: Can you recommend any novels or books of short stories you learned about there?

ML: One fun thing about Bouchercon was that every registrant received a tote bag full of books. The selection varied from bag to bag so some friends and I will be trading around. Mine contained new works by Lee Child, Rick Mofina, and Laurie R. King, as well as The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley, which has won several awards this year for Best First Mystery Novel.

Denise Mina was the International Guest of Honor, and after hearing her speak, I’m eager to give her books a try. Patricia L. Morin introduced her collection of short stories, Mystery Montage, at Bouchercon, and it looks very promising.

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-copyright Simon Sandall