Mirth and Murder

Posted at Jun 26, 2015 8:21 pm

Originally posted on fellow mystery writer Lesley A. Diehl’s Blog, November 30, 2014

Today I will comment on a deadly serious subject: mirth and murder. Why do I write about these two seemingly contradictory life experiences? Well, I think they have a common root. Many murders are committed from anger. And I have heard many comedians say that their humor stems from anger, as well. For me, both are true (well, I haven’t killed anyone, but hopefully you get my meaning). Yes, I am one angry beeeaaatch, just like my protagonist, Dirty Harriet (and, might I mention, her inspiration, Dirty Harry). Okay, I have a wonderful, supportive husband, two loyal dogs, a beautiful home in paradise (i.e., South Florida), true friends – so what do I have to be angry about? In a word: injustice. You know, that stuff we read or hear about in the news every day. Corrupt politicians (but I repeat myself, as Mark Twain said). Exploitative employers. Bigoted bullies.

a_funny_mystery_writer_joke_round_sticker-r1a286b42259e43ea946ece7a2f560315_v9waf_8byvr_512So I channel my anger by taking down my targets with satire and slaying (fictional, of course). Just what is satire? I did some in-depth, writerly research on this (in other words, I went to Wikipedia). According to that definitive reference source, it’s an art form “in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon and as a tool to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.” I’m no Jonathan Swift with his “Modest Proposal,” but my own modest aim is to make a few readers laugh, to think – and maybe to act.

As for the slaying part, real-life jerks become either victims or villains in my books. And Dirty Harriet sees to it that the villains always get their just rewards. And I hope that’s as rewarding to you, the reader, as it is to me.

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