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To High Tech Or Not To High Tech

I had an interesting discussion a few weeks ago with a fellow writer who was complaining that modern technology makes life tough for murder mystery writers.

I argued that technology creates at least as many possibilities as it does problems, (perhaps a rather optimistic pov for someone as tech illiterate as I am.)

But since then, I’ve read a police procedural set in the UK,  ‘The Hope That Kills (A DI Fenchurch Novel Book 1)” by Ed James, in which almost the entire case is solved via CCTV footage. It became a bit of a self made cliche by mid read.

Ed had a number of books under his belt when he wrote this one and it shows. His central character, Simon Fenchurch is different enough to be interesting, and I like that he goes for deep POV, as the psychology of characters really interest me. That said, Fenchurch hears drum riffs in his head whenever he’s under stress, which I found a bit confusing until I got what was going on, although it is a neat effect.

I must also add, that Ed really knows London, which drew me well into the book.

But, back to the impact of technology on our genre, it’s an interesting debate.

I think I’m coming around to my friend’s position though. Modern policing tech is making it incredibly difficult for criminals to get away with a murder, but there aren’t many ways where modern tech helps the criminal. Hacking, yes, but murder, not so much.

On the plus side, it makes writing a murder mystery just that much more of a fascinating challenge.

Many years ago, I read a terrific series called the Cadfael Chronicles, by Edith Pargetter, under the name of Ellis Peters. Cadfael is a medieval monk who solves a series of murders.

I think I’ll reread them, to remind myself what low tech sleuthing is all about.



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