Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Mystery at the Heart of a Mystery

In writing my novel A QUESTION OF PROOF, I wanted to create a formidable mystery at the dark heart of the novel that would lurk undiscovered until the end.  The trial of Susan Boelter was intended to expose the answer to the mystery: "Did she kill her husband?" It's a simple question, but in A QUESTION OF PROOF, as in real life, no outsider, no one on the jury, not even the prosecutor, ever truly knows whether the defendant is guilty. And as in real life, the novel's twists and turns, new evidence, lying witnesses, are all part of the process of getting at that final immutable answer to a question of proof.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dan’s feet swung down. "Damn it, Cal, I don’t know who she is. She says her husband was alive when she left the house, and not a shred of evidence backs her up. Last night, I ran into someone who . . . knew her slightly at college. He wasn’t sure, but he had this vague recollection that she was one of the great party girls at Bryn Mawr. I mean a top student, editor of the paper, but wild. Does he have her pegged right?"

“It sure doesn’t jibe with the impression she gave us of her college years."

“Who the hell is she, really? The gracious lady of high society or a desperate adventuress who’d seduce her estranged husband, period and all? To meet her socially, all that virtue, it knocks you off your feet, but is it a front? In bed there’s all the lust a man could want."

"Cal’s eyebrows rose. 'No wonder you refused a fee."

"I took her case because I believed her. Now I don’t know what to believe."


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