Monday, January 23, 2012

Ideas for Mysteries

I like that ideas to use in mystery novels can come from anywhere. I often find interesting tidbits in the newspaper. On Sunday there’s a section titled News of the Weird. This always has good stories about incompetent crooks and strange behavior. Even regular news articles provide excellent content. Several ideas I’ve used that were reported: 1. The police raided a senior center and arrested oldsters who were gambling. 2. Two women took out life insurance policies on homeless men, killed them in hit-and-run accidents and collected the life insurance money. Many years ago I was on a federal grand jury and we heard evidence to indict people. One of my favorites was a bank robbery. The police couldn’t find any suspects for two weeks. Then the teller who had been robbed came to the police and said she and her boyfriend had staged the robbery. He disappeared to Las Vegas with the money and another woman and now she wanted the police to go get him. Some of these are more farfetched than I can make up.


Bill Kirton said...

I have files full of such things, too, Mike. I don't know if they're still giving out the Darwin Awards (for the least evolved amongst us, apparently), but a few years back, the winner was a certain Mr Elliot. The citation reads: "When his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked."

Mike said...

That's a beauty. We mystery writers thrive on dumb criminals.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I remember the FBI agent who came to the newspaper office where I worked as a police reporter. He wanted me to help him catch a "cross-eyed" bank robber. So I wrote the story and we ran the bank photo taken of him. Two days later, a Vietnam veteran with a glass eye was arrested in the rehab center where he had checked himself in immediately after the robbery. I wasn't too happy to learn that he hadn't been able to find a job since his discharge from the Army, and my news article had aided in his arrest.

Jaden Terrell said...

I've always love News of the Weird. So many story sparkers all in one place. (I originally wrote story sparklers, which I think I like even better.)