Fear in Writing: Dinner Party, perfect for...Murder?

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dinner Party, perfect for...Murder?

My computer was down all day yesterday and today...so I couldn't get a post up!  But it looks like Elizabeth Spann Craig is a great draw...so maybe I should just blog about her all the time?

But let me tell you about this fabulous party I attended last night.  A friend had a birthday--and her husband hired a private chef to cook us a four course meal.  It was superb!  Between the scallops, the quail, the filet mignon, and the chocolate souffle...I was swimming in heaven.  Oh, did I mention there was a wine pairing for each course, with port at the end?  Oh, yeah.  I was swimming in other ways as well!

One of the fascinating guests was an FBI agent.  She was talkative and hilarious, not really what you expect from the FBI.  But it was really fun to hear her stories and her take on the arrests she makes in healthcare fraud.

And it all got me thinking...dinner party...sparkling wine glasses and shiny silver...strangers and friends elbow to elbow...a few steak knives and--voila!  What a wonderful setting for a murder.  Of course, it has been done before, many times.  But sitting there in the midst of this great conversation and savory food, I could feel how it might happen.  (I hope my fellow dinner guests aren't worrying right about now...)

Have you ever been in a setting that just SCREAMED murder?  What was it about the scenario?  What did you do about it?  (I mean, did you write it, not did you kill someone!)

This takes the place of the usual Sunday Foreign Post Roundup, which will go up on Monday.

14 comments:

  1. I'm afraid at every dinner setting I was too focused on the food. Shame on me. I did play the murder game once at a friend's house. The entire murder was scripted and we had to figure out who did it according to the clues. It was a blast.

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  2. Michele - Oh, dinner parties are just wonderful scenes for a murder. That's where the murder in Agatha Christie's Cards on the Table takes place, and the setting really is perfect for the murder. Hotels are also great settings for murders. I thought about that once when I was staying at a hotel, and the idea has made its way into my WIP.

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  3. Summer Camp in the mountains. Boys Camp on the other side of a magnificent lake. Raging hormones and money. What more could you ask?
    Giggles and Guns

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  4. Sounds like the perfect place for murder. Even if it has been done before there are always new twists to put into the story, like the FBI agent or the private chef.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  5. I have an idea that I've been sitting on for almost a year now that there's no WAY I'm going to have time to write for at least another year. It involved a house party and it was PERFECT!

    I ended up writing a quick synopsis of it so I wouldn't forget the plot by the time I have a chance to write it! Love your dinner party. :)

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  6. M.J.- What a great idea for a party! Elspeth Antonelli designs those...maybe I should order one for my next dinner party! Hmmm...

    Mary- Again, mystery/thriller that has been written, but also very enticing events. There's a reason so many people can relate to the situation!

    Mason- Aahhhh...I hadn't thought of it that way...Hmmm...You all are giving me so many good ideas!

    Elizabeth- That's what I should do--write the synopsis before I forget. I hope you write it! It sounds great!

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  7. Wow what an amazing dinner party! I love meeting interesting people especially at dinner parties, they keep the conversation so fun!!!

    I love going to places that remind me of murder, or a fantasy world I've created. The woods is a place that I find is always a perfect place for murder.

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  8. The mystery I'll be querying takes place during a house party...with several dinner scenes...in an English manor house...in 1935. Time-honoured? Yes. But hopefully, I've added a few different twists.

    Thanks for the shout-out about my games, Michele, one of which is actually entitled "The Murder Game". I wonder if MJ played mine?

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  9. A setting that screamed murder? Yeah, everytime a slow person pulls their car in front of mine!

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  10. I should also mention that the FBI agent had her locked gun upstairs and the private chef had some wicked looking knives. Not to mention the fact that after appetizers, no one was watching the food prep---perfect time to slip in some poison...and what about the ghostlike server, Charlie??? What's his story?

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  11. Jen- You should read 'In the Woods' by Tana French. She is by far my favorite modern author and the book is psychologically traumatic. Go for it!

    Elspeth- Perfect! I'd love to attend a historically-themed dinner party...And I'm glad you found your way here without me swinging by to tell you, as I meant to!

    Alex- Ha! You're talking about times YOU nearly killed someone. I promise I didn't want to kill anyone at my dinner party!

    Chris- Hello, my host! Definitely on the knives, and I didn't know she had her gun upstairs! And Charlie had his creepy-isms. I think I'll have to write this short story as a gift to Cheryl...

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  12. I did have one of those Aha! moments at a play. It was a small theater, seated about 500, and I thought that it would be the perfect place. There are several areas that are somewhat secluded when the show is in progress.

    As for the second question, no I did not write it but I jotted down some notes.

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  14. I have been known to spot settings fit for murder, but what usually gets me in a crime sort of mood is the thought of how the murder is discovered. Yesterday I was out walking with a friend, and we passed a spot where they were working on some water pipes or something. This being a Sunday, though, there weren't actually anyone there at the time. Still, the engine of the digger was running. My friend and I were outraged - did they really leave the engine running over the weekend? Then it struck me - what if the driver had been murdered? What a great opening for a mystery novel - two pedestrians coming over to shut the engine down, finding a dead body instead!
    (Of course, once I had thought about this, I was so freaked out that I didn't have the guts to go over to check if there really was someone there...)

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