KAMLOOPS — Novelist April Washington just published her latest murder mystery, and she’s pretty sure readers won’t suspect the character who is heir to several mansions, a collection of priceless art pieces and £80,000,000.
“That’s what I love about writing whodunits,” said Washington at the book launch for Chimes with Murder, “When you read my book you won’t know if it’s the maid, the best friend, the niece set to inherit her uncle’s many assets and properties, or the country doctor”.
Chimes with Murder is the fourth book in a series about Quentin Baines, a private detective in the 1940s who is meticulous, stubborn and wears a hat. As always, he is joined by his sidekick James Burnham, a simple minded man who picks up on obvious clues that Baines is too intelligent to notice.
Washington’s publishers have done everything they can to prevent the identity of the murderer from getting out. “Just because Jane Matthews, niece to Earl Graham Humphrey Matthews, is a gambling addict with a shady past, it doesn’t mean she’s the murderer,” said publisher Tina Yang of Penguin Random House. “April was very careful to only imply that she hated her uncle, and frequently wished him dead.”
“Sure there’s a scene early on where Jane Matthews is covered in blood, but that’s explained away pretty easily by her job at the butcher shop, which she was forced to take when she inherited her father’s numerous debts.”
Washington was very careful to reveal just the right amount of information through clues. “It’s difficult, but I don’t think anyone will pick up anything from the missing service revolver or the fact that the Earl was about to change his will. Ultimately readers will be thrown off by red herrings like the maid being angry about something or other, and the country doctor being too kind.”
“I don’t want to give too much away, but the final clue relies on readers not realizing that something written on a pad of paper is actually upside down”.
The BBC has already optioned the book with the intent of adapting it into a six part miniseries. Hugh Laurie, Hugh Bonneville and Hugh Grant are attached to star.
Now that her latest book is out, Washington is starting work on a noir novel, in which the murderer definitely won’t turn out to be the person who hired the detective.