Whenever there’s a big event, there’s also plenty of planning and preparation beforehand. If you’ve planned a wedding, a long trip, a major birthday or anniversary, or another special event, you know how much goes into getting ready. Of course, planning doesn’t ensure everything will go well, but it does help a lot.
Crime fiction is full of examples of how this planning works, too. In Anthony Bidulka’s Amuse Bouche, for instance, Harold Chavell hires Saskatoon PI Russell Quant to find his missing fiancé, Tom Osborn. It seems that Osborn has gone to France and is following the couple’s honeymoon itinerary. Chavell wants Quant to travel to France, follow the same itinerary, and catch up to Osborn. Quant’s only too happy for a free trip to France, not to mention the fee, so he agrees. As he goes from place to place, we see how carefully the honeymoon vacation was planned. Each part of the trip, each hotel/B&B, etc., has been booked and is ready. Even the driving routes are in place. On the one hand, it makes Quant’s job easier in the sense that he knows the trail to follow. On the other hand, it doesn’t solve the mystery, which turns out to be more complex than a fiancé who has ‘cold feet’ about marrying.
In Jill Edmonson’s Blood and Groom, Toronto-based PI Sasha Jackson is hired to find out who killed Gordon Haynes. His former fiancée, Christine Arvisais, wants to know the truth, mostly because there’s a lot of talk that she is guilty. She wants her name cleared, and she wants the gossip stopped. Arvisais is an unpleasant client, but Jackson can use the fee. So, she takes the case and starts asking questions. In the process, she finds out the details of the planned wedding, and we get a look at how many big and small things have to be settled ahead of time, especially for a more formal or ornate wedding. There’s also a look at those details in several series that feature wedding planners as amateur sleuths (e.g., Marla Cooper has written two mysteries ‘starring’ San Francisco wedding planner Kelsey McKenna).
There are lots of other crime novels that feature that sort of planning. There are even crime novels that feature planning for a crime. For example, the focus of Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal is an attempt by a hired assassin to kill French Prime Minister Charles de Gaulle. The French police know that there will be an attempt on de Gaulle’s life, but they don’t know by whom. Even the far-right group that hired the assassin doesn’t know what the killer looks like, or anything about him, really. Still, the police are going to have to do the best they can to protect the president. So, part of the novel revolves around the police plans. Another part details the assassin’s preparations. They are many and complex, because it’s not that easy to kill a head of state. And it’s interesting to see, on both sides, how these things are planned.
Robert Pollock’s Loophole: Or, How to Rob a Bank is the story of a group of thieves who plan a London bank heist. Mike Daniels, the leader of the group, knows he needs a good architect to help in the job, so he persuades out-of-work architect Stephen Booker to take part. The group begins some meticulous planning, and they soon have all of the details ready. On the day of the heist, everyone’s prepared and in place, and all of the equipment is ready to go, too. Then a sudden storm comes up, and changes everything… Fans of Donald Westlake’s John Dortmunder novels will know that they, too, describe the planning that goes into a heist.
And…speaking of planning….
Next week will be a big week for this blog! My new novella, Streets of Gold, will be published on Wednesday (16 March), and I’ve got some plans.
On Monday, I’ll have a special Launch Week announcement.
On Tuesday, I’ll have a new edition of In The Spotlight for you. I’m also guest-starring on Sarah Glenn’s fabulous blog.
On Wednesday, you’re all invited to a Zoom launch party!! We can’t get together in person, and this is a very unsettling time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take some time to enjoy each other’s company. I hope you’ll stop over at mine, where I’ll be talking about Streets of Gold, and answering your questions.
Here’s the Zoom information and link:
Wednesday, 16 March, 12 pm – 1 PM US Pacific Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 860 3666 2855
(Incidentally, this link is different to the original link I posted. Please use this link!)
If you need more information about the launch party, please let me know! I know that time differences make this sort of thing complicated, but I’d really love for you to be there – it won’t be the same without you!
On Thursday, I’m visiting Janet Rudolph’s fantastic Mystery Fanfare blog.
On Saturday, after I’ve swept up all the crumbs, put the wine bottles into the recycle bin and so on, we’ll return to regular broadcasting.
*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Billy Joel’s This is the Time.