I’m pleased to have mystery writer Marilyn Meredith as a return guest. Marilyn writes her Rocky Bluff, California series under the name F.M. Meredith. She has just released the latest title, A Crushing Death. Today she takes on the question “How much grit do you want in your mystery?”
My first Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries were far grittier in the beginning than they are now. By grittier, I mean more descriptive of horrific crimes and a bit more sex. Now, I tend to shut the door and let the reader imagine what’s going on.
I could say the same thing about my Tempe Crabtree series. In both series, I wrote books about horrendous crimes against children, which I’ll never do again.
Bad Tidings and Fringe Benefits probably have the goriest murders, though An Axe to Grind has a gritty one too—but in some ways it’s also humorous. There is one later book in the series, Dangerous Impulses, with a rather bloody murder scene.
The Tempe Crabtree series has evolved almost into a procedural cozy, if there is such a thing. Some reviewers have said that about the Rocky Bluff series too, but I don’t agree. It is a bit milder than most police procedurals in that there is no “bad” language. Oh, the characters do cuss, I just don’t quote them.
I would suppose since both of my series are set in small towns, Bear Creek in the mountains and Rocky Bluff on the coast, they resemble cozies in some ways—but there are no major animal characters or tea drinkers.
In both series, the personal lives of the characters are as important as the mysteries. In the last Deputy Tempe Crabtree, Not as it Seems, Tempe’s son, who was a young teen in the first book, got married. Because the Rocky Bluff series has an ensemble cast, a lot happens in each individual’s life besides what’s going on with the job.
Though I still love to read all kinds of mysteries, I’m not as enthusiastic about the ones who describe what’s happened to a murder victim in all the grisly details. Since my taste has changed concerning what I read, I’m no longer quite as descriptive about the grittier stuff as I used to be.
Having said all that, who knows what I’ll actually do when an idea strikes me and I start to write the next mystery.
This was a great question. I’d love to hear what others have to say about the amount of grit they like in the mysteries they read or write.
Marilyn, aka F. M. Meredith
About A Crushing Death
A pile of rocks is found on a dead body beneath the condemned pier, a teacher is accused of molesting a student, the new police chief is threatened by someone she once arrested for violent attacks on women, and Detective Milligan’s teenage daughter has a problem.
F.M. Meredith, who is also known as Marilyn Meredith, is nearing the number of 40 published books. Besides being an author she is a wife, mother , grandma and great-grandmother. Though the Rocky Bluff she writes about is fictional, she lived for over twenty years in a similar small beach town. Besides having many law enforcement officers in her family she counts many as friends. She teaches writing, loves to give presentations to writing and other groups, and is a member of Mystery Writers of America, three chapters of Sisters in Crime and on the board of Public Safety Writers Association.
Facebook: Marilyn Meredith
Once again, the person who comments on the most blogs during this tour can have a character named after them in the next Rocky Bluff P.D. mystery. Tomorrow you can find me on Jackie Zortman’s blog. Click here to view it.
Purchase your copy of A Crushing Death here.
Marilyn posted here last September about her fascination with law enforcement. You can view it here.
Marilyn (right) with her friend Mara.