Indicators of Murder


I was listening to an audiobook this past week/weekend and heard this line and my brain stuttered to a stop. The female detective said she knew the victim was murdered because the victim was wearing a light weight jacket that was zipped all the way up. Obviously, she hadn’t dressed herself, it’s unnatural for a woman to zip up a jacket beyond her breasts. So I looked down at my own jacket that I wear all the time. Yep, zipped all the way up and I dressed myself.

Maybe that isn’t the best indicator of murder. It definitely isn’t in my case. I would say if my jacket wasn’t zipped up all the way it would be more questionable. As authors I know we struggle sometimes to explain why our heroes know something, but that seemed exceptionally sloppy. Especially since it was never touched on again and the victim wasn’t sexually assaulted. Why would the killer need to redress her?

Usually, when a hero has this kind of insight it’s really about the author. For instance, I would never look down the barrel of a gun, regardless of whether I think it’s loaded or not. If I get shot in the face, that’s a good indicator I’ve been murdered. The position of the zipper on my jacket not so much.

The point being unless your investigator has telepathy think realistically about indicators of murder and not just what you wouldn’t do.

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