Tag Archives: Private Detectives

The Detective’s Gambit

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I’m a chess addict and my Sam Smith mystery, Mind Games, is about a chess player. Chess and mysteries have a common thread, the solving of a puzzle. With that in mind, I decided to research the connection between private detectives and chess. 

August 1957 saw the television premiere of The Chess Player, series one, episode eight of the Richard Diamond Private Detective series. In this episode, the wife of a wealthy industrialist hires Richard Diamond to discover who is trying to murder her husband. The plot is standard for the genre. However, David Janssen’s portrayal of Richard Diamond is engaging and it foreshadows his starring role as Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive. In The Chess Player, Julian Tyler, the industrialist husband, mentions that he played Capablanca and that he introduced a new variation to the Ruy Lopez.

When not tangling with femme fatales or dodging bullets, Raymond Chandler’s private detective, Philip Marlowe, could often be found brooding over chess puzzles. Marlowe preferred puzzles to over the board games with real opponents, which served to highlight his mistrust of his opponents, and humanity as a whole. 

Chess served as a literary motif in Chandler’s novel, The High Window, while Marlowe himself confessed, “I like liquor and women and chess and a few other things.” Maybe Chandler, and Marlowe, had a love-hate relationship with chess because, in The Long Goodbye, Marlowe stated, “Chess is the most elaborate waste of human intelligence outside of an advertising agency.” Yet Marlowe constantly returned to chess, including in the novel and television movie, Poodle Springs, a story written by Robert B Parker, another great of private detective literature.

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There are other examples of chess and the private detective, although in truth they are not numerous. In my Sam Smith Mystery Series, Sam (Samantha) is a budding chess player, keen to learn about the game. Chess is the ideal game to use as a metaphor in detective fiction. Furthermore, knowledge of the game suggests a certain level of intelligence. To win through, both the chess player and the private detective know that they have to make the right moves, and that one slip could be fatal.

 

Books Ten, Eleven and Twelve

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January was an exciting month for the Sam Smith Mystery Series with bumper sales and top twenty chart positions in ten countries, including #1 on the amazon.com private detective chart. February has started well with lots of writing and editing. Currently, I’m polishing the Stardust manuscript for publication on March 1st while working on the outline of Mind Games and developing ideas for Digging in the Dirt.

Mind Games is centred on a chess player, though you don’t need any knowledge of chess to understand the plot. Essentially, Mind Games is a love story, of sorts. If you read the book you will understand what I mean by that statement.

Digging in the Dirt features a murder set in the world of archaeology. One of the subplots to this book might include the story of Alan’s grandparents, and their activities during the Second World War. This strand ties in with the theme of the main story, the way the past affects the present and the future.

As ever, thanks to everyone who’s read a Sam Smith book, and if you haven’t read one yet, here’s a shopping link. Book one, Sam’s Song, is free while the other books in the series are only $0.99/£0.99 each 😃

https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E

 

 

Sam Smith Newsletter #1

The first Sam Smith Newsletter is now available from this website. Please click this link to view the newsletter: http://eepurl.com/chSxJD

If you would like to subscribe to future newsletters please complete the form on my contact page. Thank you. https://hannah-howe.com/aboutcontactnewsletter/

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Newsletter Extract

An extract from the first Sam Smith Newsletter. The Newsletter will be published, free, in early November and you can reserve your copy by following this link. https://hannah-howe.com/aboutcontactnewsletter/

Sam Smith Characters #1

Dr Alan Storey

Dr Alan Storey provides the relationship strand to the Sam Smith Mystery Series. Alan is a psychologist who practices Humanistic principles, that is a belief in the positive attributes of happiness, contentment, ecstasy, kindness, caring, sharing and generosity. Humanists focus on the individual, especially the concept of personal choice.

Humanistic Psychology developed in the 1960s and it differs from other branches of psychology in that the psychologist acts as a confident or counsellor and the client (not ‘patient’) must consciously and rationally decide for themselves what is wrong and how the problem should be addressed.

In his early forties, Alan is a widower with a teenage daughter, Alis. As well as the romantic element, Alan also provides psychological insight, when required, on the various people Sam encounters. Although there is a ‘whodunit’ element to the series, I like to focus more on people’s behaviours and reasons for their actions.

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Page One, Line One

This week I made a start on a new Sam Smith novel, Smoke and Mirrors, book nine in the series. This book has a dramatic start and the plot is more labyrinth than some of the earlier novels. When you write a series you want to add variety around the familiarity of the central characters, which is why I try to change the locations occasionally and the tone of the stories, while remaining true to the original concept.

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My routine usually consists of writing a chapter a day and editing the previous day’s chapter. Therefore, each day represents a complete chapter. Another round of editing and proofreading take place before the book is ready, but I try to alter as little as possible for the simple reason that these are Sam’s stories, she is the narrator and the words represent her actions and thoughts.

Books Are Us

Phew, a busy weekend! Sins of the Father was published this weekend and the book has broken my personal record for sales on a publication day. Along with that I have the proof copy of the print version to assess, for publication in August, and I’m working with Suzan Lynn Lorraine on the audio book version of Ripper. Suzan has excelled herself with the narration and I think Ripper will be our most impressive audio book to date. I must also mention Lucy Llewellyn at Head and Heart Publishing Services and thank her for her considerable creative contribution to the audio book cover. In addition, I’ve also completed a 125 page outline for the next book, Smoke and Mirrors. Wonderful to be writing and collaborating with such talented people.

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Sins of the Father

Published today, Sins of the Father, the latest Sam Smith mystery!

For the first thirty-three years of my life I had no knowledge of my father, no idea what he looked like, his name, whether he was dead or alive. Then fate brought us together. Then, a year later, he decided to hire me.

Although we had talked for a year, my father was still Gawain Morgan to me, a stranger, not my dad. Would the task of locating Frankie Quinn bring us closer together, or drive us further apart?

Frankie Quinn was a con-man, a life-long villain, a member of my father’s old gang. That’s right, my father was a villain too, with dodgy contacts, a shady past and sins he preferred to forget. The police wanted Frankie and, if arrested, he faced the prospect of spending his final years in prison. However, he had a trump card, evidence of my father’s indiscretions. Frankie was looking to cut a deal with the police, my father was looking for Frankie. They knew that one of them would spend the winter of their days in prison; but who would it be?

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking towards my wedding day. Would I enjoy the happiest day of my life, or be left crying into my champagne?

Sins of the Father, ten days that defined my relationship with my dad.

Available from all major Internet outlets for the special price of £0.99/$0.99

Amazon Link

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