Breaking Glass

The Butler Didn’t Do It

I would like to try my hand at detective stories, but I’m having some problems coming up with plausible conclusions.  Let me give you an example: I’m currently writing a book in which it’s obvious from the first page that the butler did it, and, as the book goes on, this conclusion is steadily reinforced by a mountain of new evidence.  Then, in the last paragraph, I bring in the surprise ending by saying, “Actually, the butler didn’t do it.  It was someone else altogether (never mind who), and there’s a very good explanation for all the evidence that seemed to point to the butler.  THE END.”  For some reason, no publisher is interested.

What makes me think that my story should be saleable is that it definitely meets federal standards of criminal investigation.  I am thinking primarily of the response to the anthrax attacks mounted against the United States in late 2001, in which overwhelming evidence pointed to culprits associated with Middle Eastern and Islamic extremism—and that evidence has grown stronger over the past year.  Yet, by fiat, federal investigators decided—for transparent political reasons—that these crimes were the work of some other party.  If nobody seems bothered by this inconsistency, why should they be bothered by my mystery novel?

The case for a Middle Eastern connection can be spelled out easily. ...

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