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Monday, February 12, 2018

Developing a Plot by Paty Jager

bowls made by Paty
I've wrapped up another Shandra Higheagle mystery. Artful Murder will be available in March. The setting for the book came about on a subconscious thought that had my amateur sleuth Shandra Higheagle using the excuse of volunteering at a high school to get information on a suspect in the book Haunting Corpse

Artful Murder opens with her volunteering at the high school.

Deciding who would be murdered, I came up with a teacher no one liked. That gave me endless possibilities for suspects. I laid all of these possibilities out on my suspect chart and then started populating the school with teachers and drawing the layout of the school.

I discovered putting Shandra in a new location required more work than having her stay in Huckleberry.  But it was all fun.

Thinking up why the teacher would be disliked, I came up with a teacher from my past who, while not being as "slimy" as the teacher in my book, he gave me the creeps, but it was known throughout the high school that if you wore a dress and sat in the front row you received an A that day. I made my murder victim, more creepy and slimy than the one I encountered in school.

When I finished with the book, Warner High is not a place you would want to send your students due to misplaced principles of the principal, teachers who didn't push for change, and the lecherous art teacher.

I'm just glad Shandra volunteered at the school and helped to bring all the secrets and shadiness out in the open.  ;)

Here is the cover and blurb. The book will release next month. As always, there is the ongoing romance between Shandra and Detective Ryan Greer.

Book ten in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series
Secrets… Scandal… Murder…
An autistic boy and his brother need potter Shandra Higheagle’s help, or so she believes. One of the teachers at the school where Shandra volunteers is found dead after a confrontation with the older brother. Shandra knows the boy is innocent. Digging into the teacher’s life she and Ryan turn up scandal.

Detective Ryan Greer has believed in Shandra’s dreams in the past, but she can’t always be right. When his investigation uncovers a principal on the take, females being harassed, and parents kept in the dark, he discovers more suspects than the brothers. Shandra’s time at the school is coming to an end, and the killer has struck again.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 32 novels, 6 novellas, and numerous anthologies of murder mystery and western romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what Mysteries Etc says about her Shandra Higheagle mystery series: “Mystery, romance, small town, and Native American heritage combine to make a compelling read.”

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  1. Paty, this sounds like an interesting concept for a book. I had a sixth-grade teacher who invited boys in the class to his house for a sleepover. Decades later, I've heard several reports that boys were molested. You just can't trust everyone, even some teachers.

  2. Laurean, It is getting to be that way. And there are too many who bury their heads in the sand and do nothing. That's what is frustrating. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  3. Forgot to hit notify me so I can find out if someone comments. Carry on!

  4. Interesting post, Paty. In light of what we know about the world now, I guess we all think back on our childhoods and wonder about adults we knew who may have been evil people.

  5. Joan, Yes. There are millions of nice people but you know everyone at some time in their life has to have come across someone who was out to do harm.


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