Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Please Welcome Mystery Author Matt Ingwalson

Omnimystery News: Guest Author Post
by Matt Ingwalson

We are delighted to welcome novelist Matt Ingwalson as our guest.

Matt's new locked room mystery novella is The Single Staircase (CreateSpace, January 2013 trade paperback and ebook formats).

Today Matt tells us about three classic novels that provided the inspiration for his own book.

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America is obsessed with new. New cars. New celebrities. Even new detective fiction. The result is that the books that defined the genre are either out-of-print or available only on the Internet. Here are three that are more than great reads. They're the building blocks for today's best stories. And they inspired my own locked-room mystery, The Single Staircase.

Matt Ingwalson
Photo provided courtesy of
Matt Ingwalson

1. The Friends of Eddie Coyle: George V. Higgins is a polarizing writer. His books are pretty much all dialogue. Bad men talk about the crimes they've just committed. About the crimes they're about to commit. About their girlfriends. The lack of action irritates some. But Higgins' feel for the rhythms of speech is better than anybody not named David Mamet. And he proved that great dialogue can carry a story. The Friends of Eddie Coyle was made into a 1973 film with Robert Mitchum, but it's unlikely to be on the shelf at your local bookstore.

When I wrote The Single Staircase, I wrote almost all the dialogue first. I totally intended to go back and flesh my story out with page after page of glorious prose. Then I thought about The Friends of Eddie Coyle and decided to just let it alone.

2. He Who Whispers: John Dickson Carr is inseparably attached to the locked-room genre. His books are filled with unlikely coincidences, rare psychosexual neuroses, and infuriating detectives who simply refuse to share their hypotheses with anyone at all. Fortunately, they're also filled with something else. Clues. Tangible evidence and eyewitness reports that only the nimblest minds can knit together. He Who Whispers is one of Carr's best. A man is stabbed through the back on top of a empty tower in England. It's an irresistible puzzle. One which the reader can — but won't — solve. And it's only being printed on-demand. Boo.

I wanted the climax of my novella to have the same sort of sensation you get from He Who Whispers — that creepy feeling that the solution was unguessable, but inevitable.

3. Last Seen Wearing: The CWA and the MWA both list Hillary Waugh's 1952 novel as one of the best 100 ever. But it's inexcusably out of print. The book is a hypnotizing recounting of a painstaking investigation. There's no foreshadowing; a co-ed wanders away from her dorm on the very first page. And there's no soft landing; the book ends with the grim but satisfying command, "Go get him." It is the classic procedural, told through the eyes of two small town policemen whose nonstop bickering hides their tireless work ethic and mutual respect.

The Single Staircase is also a story about two cops searching for a missing child. Their instincts scream "murder" and all the clues point directly at the girl's parents. But as the hours fly by and no body turns up, their humanity leads them to consider a different solution. It's the type of story that Waugh practically invented.

If you have already read these books and want to buy The Single Staircase, it is $8 on Amazon or $4 on Kindle. I am giving 100% of any profits to a charity that helps find missing children, so I hope you'll give it a shot.

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About Matt Ingwalson: I like to find blank spaces and fill them. I write screenplays and poetry. I am a musician and political blogger. I've competed at almost every sport you can name. And by day and night, I am the creative director of one of Denver's most awarded advertising agencies.

I like to write spartan, dialogue-driven mysteries about impossible crimes and the people who have to solve them.

Learn more about Matt and his work by visiting his website.

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The Single Staircase by Matt Ingwalson

The Single Staircase
A Novella by Matt Ingwalson

A baby vanishes from a carefully watched third-floor nursery.

Did her parents kill their only child and hide the body? What other solution could there be?

This is a modern police procedural about a singularly disturbing crime. It's also a classical locked-room mystery that will keep you guessing right up until the end.

Amazon.com Print and/or Kindle Edition

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