Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Working out the mystery

For 2014, work continues on my new mystery, A Hangman for Ghosts. A mystery is really two stories: the story of a crime, its consequences and the discovery of the truth of that crime, and the concealed story of what led to the crime, its causes, motives, who is guilty, and why. The investigator leads in the first story to discover the second.

A mystery writer guesses the end, but I for one don't always know what lies between the discovery of the crime and the finding of the criminal. In a sense, I'm writing to work out what happens, and what has happened. And so A Hangman for Ghosts has sometimes intrigued and baffled me, and taken me in unexpected directions as much as the difficult and secretive protagonist. But I'm halfway there, or more, and begin to see it emerging.

In the meantime, here's what I know:

A Hangman for Ghosts

“To escape this place entirely we would need to destroy our memories – we would require a slaughter-man for memory, a hangman for ghosts.”

Sydney, New South Wales, 1829
When a series of brutal murders shake even the penal colony, officials look to the hated executioner, Gabriel Carver, a felon who purchased his own reprieve by turning against his fellow prisoners, for answers. But the sardonic Carver has an aptitude for brutal truths – if not self-preservation – and his dogged search for the truth will lead back to the prison hulks, his own dark path, and into the corrupt heart of the Empire and a shocking reversal.