The author of Beach Dreams (2008), Trish Perry lives in Northern Virginia with her hilarious teenaged son. She discovered her love of writing while earning a degree in Psychology. She switched career paths in 1997 and never looked back. Her debut novel, The Guy I’m Not Dating, placed second in the 2007 FHL Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, and her second novel, Too Good to Be True, is a current finalist in the 2008 FHL IRCC.
THE MURDER THAT DIDN’T TAKE
Writing a murder mystery? Make sure your victim cooperates!
it wasn’t until the next morning, when he was looking for some breakfast in the fridge, that his wife noticed the knife sticking out of his back...
The saying has been around long enough. We all know friends don’t let friends drive drunk. But friends who let friends drive drunk after they’ve stabbed them in the back with a six-inch knife? That’s really bad form.
Such was the case with electrician Yury Lyalin, fifty-three, of Vologda, Russia. Yury’s a hard-working stiff who merely wanted to let off a little steam at day’s end. My guess is Yury isn’t living the Christian lifestyle because his idea of letting off steam was to join his buddy at the local bar and drink Stoly into the wee hours of the night. Since Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda paper didn’t print the friend’s name, we’ll call him Poindexter. (Sometimes I like a little incongruity in a character’s name.)
So Yury and Poindexter had a great time drinking and discussing the rigors of electrical work and (let’s give Poindexter a profession) poodle grooming, and one thing led to another. As such evenings are wont to do, this one ended with Poindexter plunging a knife into Yury’s back. We don’t know why. Maybe Yury made a wisecrack about Poindexter’s name. Or his profession.
At that point Yury decided it was time to call it a night, for which he gets bonus points. But it wasn’t until the next morning, when he was looking for some breakfast in the fridge, that his wife noticed the knife sticking out of his back. You know how
sometimes you have an itch right at that spot on your back that you can’t quite reach, and it drives you nuts until you get someone to scratch it for you? Apparently Yury didn’t have that. Not the most self-aware fella in Vologda.
I’m not a writer of murder mysteries. But even I know the victim has to actually die when the bad guy kills him (or her, as the case may be). As fiction writers we can’t have our characters remaining upright and, well, alive, once they’ve been murdered.
Our man Shakespeare would have a bad go of it. Imagine his Julius Caesar, spending the Ides of March as an oblivious human pincushion. Rather than Caesar’s classic line, “Et tu, Brutus?” we’d have old Julius bleeding all over his toga while encouraging the senators to calm down and join him in a nice salad with Parmesan and a touch of anchovy.
And consider the great Agatha Christie. How thrilling would the mysterious affairs on the Orient Express have been, had the unattractive Mr. Ratchett continued to wander around the train, alive, after he had been stabbed? Ineffective Murder on the Orient Express—the title kind of loses something, doesn’t it?
So none of us will be modeling our next novels on Yury the electrician, will we? He’s fodder for the Ripley’s writing team on the SciFi Channel. Or possibly for Stolichnaya’s ad agency.
Despite Yury’s forgiving nature, local prosecutors initiated a case against Poindexter, and he could face eight years in jail. This is serious. In no time Vologda could find itself seriously overrun with poorly groomed poodles.