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Friday, September 12, 2014

I Have a Penchant for Murder by Paty Jager

Who knew, I could get so caught up in how to commit a murder and dig for the smallest of clues to frame someone else?

I've always loved mysteries. Trying to outguess the sleuth and discover the killer before he/she does at the end of the book has always been half the fun of reading a "who dunnit". Now that I finally followed my love of mysteries into writing them, I've discovered I like puzzling together the red herrings that draw the reader away from the real killer and finding interesting clues that prove the murderer or disprove the most probable killer.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out if a silk scarf encased in clay for thirty years with a body would have any thing left for the police to latch onto. One thing I discovered and while I knew silk was an organic fabric, I didn't realize how many others were and how quickly they decompose.

Cotton: can decompose in as little as a week and take up to 5 months depending on how much cotton is in the clothing.

Linen: can decompose in 2 weeks. The finer the cloth the quicker it decomposes.

Wool: even alpaca, can take up to a year and even as long as five years to decompose.

Bamboo: (didn't know they made clothing out of this) can take a year or longer to decompose.

Hemp: Will break down in a short amount of time because it is plant based.

Silk: breaks down quickly because it is made from the cocoons of silk worms.

Silk was the fabric I wanted to learn about. One site said that silk and cotton would be deteriorated by the time a body in a casket becomes a skeleton. The problem: my body isn't in a casket it was buried in clay. I also discovered asking the question on a yahoo loop I'm on that has lots of crime fighter types, that I could slow down the process of the silk deteriorating if it was in contact with the skin and was in something that wouldn't deteriorate fast like a leather or vinyl purse. I liked the idea of leather since the body is that of a rodeo cowboy. But what could he have on him that would hold a silk scarf like they wore around their necks?

I found another less biodegradable way to link someone to murder but I still like the idea of the silk scarf that is seen in several photos. We'll see what happens!

This book, Tarnished Remains, will be released February 10, 2015. Stay tuned for information about the first book in this series, Double Duplicity- A Shandra Higheagle Mystery coming in January 2015 with a pre-release in November.

About Paty
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Her first book was published in 2006. Since then she has published seventeen novels, two anthologies, and five novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset  her website; or on Facebook;!/paty.jager , Goodreads  and twitter;  @patyjag. 



  1. Paty, this was a fascinating post. I see my plot for a mystery deteriorated because I needed the victim's tie to remain recognizable after fifteen years in a shallow grave. Oops. I'm looking forward to your new release.

  2. Very interesting! As a reader you don't always think about how much time and research an author has to do to make their stories make sense. I look forward to seeing how you make the silk scarf work in your book.

    1. Hi Maggie! If only readers could see our desks or work spaces they'd see the mess we create making sure the story's info is accurate. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  3. Caroline, That was how I felt when I discovered I couldn't use the item of clothing I'd been remarking about along the way. I ended up using a metal key chain. Thanks! I hope it is well received by mystery readers as well as my readers. I have one of you mysteries on my kindle just have trouble finding time to read these days.

  4. What a fun post! I love learning about murder. I watch Criminal Minds and can't get enough of the psychology behind it. All the best!

    1. Hi Melissa, It takes a certain twisted mind to kill someone. I don't like to delve into their minds but I like to delve into the minds of the people who puzzle out things and find the murderer.

  5. I also write suspense and this is good to know!

    1. D'Ann, I was discouraged when I found out the info, but then it just made me think a little more to find a connection between the victim and the person I want to look guilty. Every bit of info I've gathered so far to help set the scene and make the circumstances believable has bee a fun journey.

  6. Interesting findings. I love suspense/mystery almost as much as I love historical fiction. Researching is a very interesting part of writing and I can spend hours looking for something in particular. Looking forward to this story of yours.

  7. HI Liette! Thanks for stopping in. I can get so caught up in research I forget to write. ;) I'm happy to hear you like mysteries and historical. I'm anxious to get my mysteries out to readers and see how they like them.


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