Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OMN Welcomes Mystery Author William I. Lengeman III

Omnimystery News: Authors on Tour

Omnimystery News is pleased to welcome William I. Lengeman III, author of the novella Murder at Terra Vista Station (Furry Minister Press eBook, November 2011), an Arley Ferminster murder mystery set in space.

Today William writes about William Shakespeare, Rex Stout, the novella and … well … himself!

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What makes a man write a novella? Well, let me tell you all about it. I was inspired to do so, as the title of this piece suggests, by two people. There's Shakespeare, who probably needs no introduction, and whose Polonius says, in Hamlet, that brevity is the soul of wit. I will be brief in saying that I agree.

William I. Lengeman III
Photo provided courtesy of
William I. Lengeman III

I tend to brevity in all things, whether in spoken or written word. I used to amuse myself writing works of flash and micro fiction, some of which clocked in at less than 100 words. Arley Ferminster, the amateur detective who stars in Murder at Terra Vista Station, actually started life as a character in a screenplay, which I wrote and set aside long ago. When I decided that I'd like to try my hand at writing a mystery I thought back to Mr. Ferminster and decided that I liked him too much to allow him to languish in obscurity.

So I resurrected the old fellow and set to work. My first thought was to write a novel, simply because that is what one does and because none of the ideas I had in mind could be shoehorned into a short story. After dilly-dallying with this alleged novel for a while I said the hell with it and set it aside. Some time later I was motivated to bring Arley back yet again and gave it another go. Which is where Rex Stout enters the picture.

If you've read any of Stout's Nero Wolfe works there's a pretty good chance that you've read one of the novellas. Many first appeared in magazines and were later collected in books, usually containing three novellas each. Stout actually wrote more novellas (about 40) than he did of the Nero Wolfe novels (33). Over the last two years I went on something of a Nero Wolfe binge and ended up reading all but about ten of the nearly 50 books that Stout published.

It's always a bad idea to generalize and there are certainly notable exceptions, but for me it always seemed that Stout turned out a better yarn when he was working at the novella length. In any event, he provided me with the impetus to take a crack at writing one. The other motivation was that I didn't feel that my story needed the full novel length to be told properly. I'm sure I'm not the only mystery reader who can point to a padded novel that would have worked better at novella length and I didn't want anyone pointing those fingers at me.

My decision was also motivated by the fact that, initially at least, the novellas will be published only in electronic format. I realize that there are limitations to this method of publishing but what little sense I possess tells me that for an unknown author to pursue the traditional publishing route for a work of novella length is like (pardon the expression) pissing up a rope.

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William I. Lengeman III is a retired assassin, four-time world crocheting champion, and author of Murder at Terra Vista Station, a novella that chronicles the first murder in space. Visit his blog at

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Murder at Terra Vista Station by William I. Lengeman III Print and/or Kindle Edition

About Murder at Terra Vista Station:

Few people can say that they got rich inventing an electric toilet bowl brush. In fact, Arley Ferminster is pretty much the only one.

Arley has moved on to other projects now, including the IntelliVac, a remote-controlled vacuum cleaner with artificial intelligence (sort of). There's also the HoverChair, the bastard child of a hovercraft and a wheelchair. Most recently, there's The Gadget Guy, a TV show he's hosting for the cable channel GeekTV. Amidst all of this Arley and his assistant Martin Grading manage to set aside some time to visit Terra Vista Station, the first commercial space hotel. This might have made for a very pleasant experience, if it wasn't for one of the other visitors being given some assistance in shuffling off of this mortal coil.

So who's responsible for the groundbreaking first murder in space? Will they strike again? Since there's no one else on board who's qualified to answer those questions, Martin and mystery fan Arley take it upon themselves to sort things out.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Lengeman's description of himself should be taken with a grain of salt; everyone knows that Lily Chin is the world's crochet champion.


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