Saturday, October 23, 2010

True Crime

Hey all you crime writers out there!

Do you ever get inspired by real life?  Has a true crime story ever served as a background to one of your mysteries?  I ask this because of a recent story in the local press.  Canadian papers and news programs have had a lot of coverage lately of the Colonel Russell Williams story.  He has confessed to two murders, plus a number of other crimes, including several break-ins.

The story is tuly horrible and some of the newspaper articles this week made my stomach lurch.

I don't think I could ever make up something as vile as this case.  It would be disturbing to write about such heinous crimes.

On the other hand, I have read at least three mysteries in the last while that are clearly based (however loosely) on real stories in the local news.  In one case, the story was great and felt original.  The connection to the real story was loose, and overall it worked. 

In another case, though, the real story was horrible, and was so thinly disguised in this novel, that I had a hard time finishing the book.

What about you?  How do you feel when art imitates life?


  1. I get more alarmed when life starts imitating art: I was once interviewed by Interpol when they were arresting my (framed) boyfriend for the attempted assassination of the Pope back in '81. Hopefully I'll make it to the next dim sum gathering and I'll tell you all about it.

  2. Writing should evoke real life emotions so why not use real life to get inspiration...

    I use it every day in my writing; it helps to be true to the world, only I put on my own twist.