Most readers of mysteries choose books by people whose names they recognize. Not promising when no one has heard of you.
A little over two years ago, Sisters in Crime and PubTrack, the book sales division of R.R. Bowker, did a survey of readers of mystery books. Most of the conclusions were not that surprising: more than 70 percent of readers are women and more than half are over 55 years old.
For the last few months I’ve been working on “Lily Plunkett and the Aquacizer Murder Club,” a book whose heroes (and, for that matter, its victims) are women over 55–and even older.
They figure out very early that age can be an asset when you’re investigating a murder.
“We should case the place first,” Letitia suggested as she rose from a stone wall to greet her, bracing herself on a classy flowered cane instead of a walker. The walker would have made her seem more frail, Lily thought. They needed to appear pitiful. Letitia was dressed too neatly, and her cardigan was too expensive, too clean and too pastel. Not that Lily had done much better. She was wearing linen slacks and a silk shirt in a tender shade of green. She probably looked too sporting for a woman almost old enough to be Albert Smythe’s grandmother. She could only hope that she and Letitia were doddering enough to seem harmless.
As I write more in this series, I expect Lily and the other aquacizers to do with deliberation what Ms. Marple only did incidentally. That is, act out what other people think is old and therefore pretty ineffective, even useless.
Murder mysteries are always full of deceit.