Catherine Astolfo: Creating a credible sleuth
The author of the Emily Taylor Mysteries on making your amateur sleuth believable.
"Amateur sleuths aren’t law enforcement and aren’t paid for solving mysteries. Unless you can establish another connection (e.g. their brother-in-law was murdered), give your character a job that will have them cross paths with n’er-do-wells (regularly, for a series). Make their sleuthing plausible by ensuring that employment, routines, or relationships led naturally to their involvement. The skills they use daily should be employed to solve the mystery. For instance, Jessica Fletcher wrote about (and researched) criminals. Spend some of your novel time in your character’s world, connecting the dots to explain how this ordinary person got involved in extraordinary events."
Catherine Astolfo is the author of the Emily Taylor Mysteries. Her novels have been optioned for film by Sisbro & Co. Inc. Catherine is a Past President of Crime Writers of Canada and a member of Sisters in Crime Toronto. She lives in Brantford, ON.