Writing mysteries has led me to some interesting experiences. Since I write two yarn related series, I have started going to yarn shows and spend a lot of time at yarn shops and a lot of time trying to corral the ever growing stash of yarn I’ve accumulated. Why is it, it’s so quick to buy some yarn and takes so long to make something with it?
I also spend a lot of time thinking about how to kill people and why people would want to kill each other. You can do a lot of research on the Internet, but there are some questions you just can’t get answers for, or if you try, you end up on some FBI list of creepy people. I have found a fabulous resource that definitely takes me to another place. Really another place, all the way on the other side of the country.
For the past three years I’ve gone to the Writers’ Police Academy. For a weekend, we take over a public safety community college near Greensboro, North Carolina. Because the community college trains cops, firefighters and paramedics, they have all kinds of things available like a fully functioning fire station, an arson lab, a paramedic department complete with an ambulance and mannequins that respond when they’re worked on, lots of equipment to try on, like handcuffs, Kelvar vests, and gun belts.
Then there are the workshops put on by cops, paramedic teachers, cold case investigators, SWAT team leaders, prison guards and more. The local sheriff sends over the bomb squad, canine units, underwater rescue crews, a mobile command post and assorted cars and motorcycles for us to examine and ask questions of the people connected with them.
Where else could I have asked someone how to make a homemade silencer? Or ridden around in an ambulance, sirens going, with a mannequin with a gunshot wound? Or examined a murder scene in the woods (not a real dead body, but there were maggots). Or seen what really happens when the cops find a suspicious backpack? When I say “what really happens,” I mean they demonstrated by having an actual suspicious backpack set in a big empty parking lot. They sent in a bomb sniffing dog, who let them know there were explosives in the backpack. Next a robot went out to the backpack and moved it further away and then blew it up. Right there in front of our eyes and ears, it really blew up.
Then that night a police chase ended in the parking lot of our hotel. The cop car was real, the people trying to get away were volunteers from our group. We got to witness what goes on when the cops catch up with someone and why they do what they do (hint, a lot had to do with yelling orders and keeping their hands visible. All those flashing lights and loud voices generated a definite adrenalin boost for me, even if it was all staged. What a blast!
I’m already planning to go to the next one. Each year seems to outdo the past one, who knows what they’ll have next. Though it’s true I write cozies and there are a lot more details about making things with yarn (all my books have patterns included) than there are about the actual blood and gore involved in the demise of the victim, it is still good to know how it all works. And I’ve picked up great little details (aside from how to make the homemade silencer) like the fact motor officer’s boots really look like regular shoes.
About This Author
Betty Hechtman writes two national best selling mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Her Crochet series features Molly Pink and the Tarzana Hookers, who get tangled up in murderers and yarn. For Better or Worsted, the eighth in the Crochet Series is her November release. If Hooks Could Kill, the seventh in the series, also came out in a paperback edition. Yarn to Go is the first book in the Yarn Retreat Series which follows Casey Feldstein, a dessert chef, who puts on a knitting retreat at a slightly sinister hotel and conference center on the Monterey Peninsula. All the books include recipes and patterns. In addition she has written a middle grade mystery Blue Schwartz and Nefertiti’s Necklace Necklace that will be re- released as an e-book in December. For more information or to read excerpts go to www.BettyHechtman.com. Connect on Facebook and Twitter. Betty blogs on Killer Hobbies on Fridays.
For Better or Worsted:
A Crochet Mystery
8th in Series
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover (November 5, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 1175 KB
Molly Pink and her crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, are always game for a new adventure. But when their newest member is accused of turning her wedding into happily-never-after for the groom, Molly’s chance to find the truth is hanging by a thread …
When Molly is invited to a major society wedding, she expects some wedding drama. Though she never anticipated this much trouble. The bride is the daughter of Molly’s close friend Mason—and has been planning this wedding for a long time. But at the reception, things go amiss when the wealthy groom ends up dancing with the grim reaper.
To make matters worse, the bride’s mother is found holding the murder weapon—and, as the newest addition to a reality show, she’s happy to fuel the media frenzy. Molly agrees to open her home to Thursday, the distraught bride, who needs a little peace from the paparazzi. But when it turns out that Thursday and her groom were on shaky ground, the blushing bride takes the spotlight as the prime suspect.
Now Molly and the Hookers must quickly stitch together seemingly unrelated clues and high-profile suspects—before a killer strikes again…
If Hooks Could Kill
(A Crochet Mystery)
7th in Series
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley (November 5, 2013)
E-Book File Size: 473 KB
When a television crew comes to Tarzana, Molly Pink and the rest of her crochet group, the Tarzana Hookers, deal with the inconvenience as best they can. But when one of their own goes down, Molly has to figure out who would want to turn a Tarzana residence into a real life crime scene…
With a little showbiz razzle-dazzle, television crime show L.A. 911 has taken some of the community’s most mundane locations and turned them into cinematic backdrops, including the yard of Kelly Donahue. The Tarzana Hookers’ newest member can’t always make the group meetings, so when collecting crocheted items to sell at the local Jungle Days street fair, Molly and the gang know better than to expect an appearance from Kelly. Instead, they decide to visit her at home to pick up her goodies—only to soon be ushered out due to the television crew’s commotion.
Kelly’s cache of unique crocheted creations is a welcome addition to their fair booty, but the news the Hookers get later that day isn’t welcome at all. It seems someone silenced Kelly—permanently—and no one heard a thing. With no solid leads, Molly decides to conduct her own investigation. Now, she and her pals will have to quickly stitch together the clues to catch Kelly’s cold-blooded murderer—before someone else dials 911.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy of
For Better or Worsted
to give away!
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