Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tired of Writing a Mystery Series?

Some serial mystery authors have grown tired of writing about the same characters. Arthur Conan Doyle grew bored with Sherlock Holmes and killed him off although he later resurrected the infamous sleuth. Agatha Christie also grew to hate her arrogant little detective Hercule Poirot, and wanted to end his career as well as his life. My own Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series became tiresome after I had finished novel six, Murder at the Mansion. However, after starting a standalone suspense novel, I began dreaming about my senior sleuths, Dana Logan and her best friend Sarah Cafferty. In the dreams both women seemed to plead with me to continue the series.

I have to admit that, after six months of not tuning into their conversations and adventures, I missed them. They had become old friends. In fact, they were patterned after my best friend and I while we were still both young, single and adventurous. My sixtyish amateur sleuths have gotten themselves into some unusual predicaments but have managed somehow to survive.

I eventually decided to write a serious seventh novel but my sleuths refused to fit completely into serious mode. Dana’s sidekick Sarah has an innate sense of humor that can’t be tamped down, and Dana usually goes along with her antics, no matter how much I try to discourage them. However, the novels’ subjects are serious:  drugs, terrorism, adultery, anarchy, romance, theft, gray wolves, RV park intrigue, a tornado, flood, and, of course, murder. But Sarah always seems to make light of or exaggerate the problems which present themselves.

Emotions are the most important elements in novel plots, so I’m grateful to have a quirky character like Sarah to make the novels come alive. No cardboard characters for me.

My current work in Progress, Logan & Cafferty #7, is titled Mystery of the Black Cross and features Sarah’s badly laser-burned face and the murders of two women in the cosmetic surgeon’s office. I researched the novel by suffering through a similar burn myself. I then came across an anarchist’s group dating back to the twelfth century. The research has been fascinating. I tied the two subjects together by having the killer paint a black cross on the house the two women share. A deadly warning or a prank? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait to find out.  : )

Jean Henry Mead began her writing career as a California news reporter, among her beats the Mexican border. She later transferred to her current home in Wyoming, where she served as staff writer-photographer for the statewide newspaper, and editor of In Wyoming Magazine while freelancing for the Denver Post. She also contributed to other magazines, both domestic and abroad, before writing the first of her 21 books, half of them novels.  Along the way she established the Western Writers Hall of Fame located in the large Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, and has served as National Publicity director of WWA and editor of two small presses.

Visit her website at and her Amazon author’s page at