Room 101 with MC Beaton

We ask authors to give us their very own list of crime writing pet peeves and we want you to decide if each one should make it into Room 101!

Our second offering comes from the modern day queen of crime fiction, MC Beaton. Her long-awaited 22nd installment to the Agatha Raisin series, ‘As The Pig Turns’ is available now, published by Constable & Robinson. Click here for full information on the brand new book.

So, what are MC Beaton’s pet hates within the crime writing genre and do they warrant a place in Room 101?
MC Beaton, it’s over to you…

1.  I am fed up with detectives who play music in their cars. It’s rather like being trapped in a room with someone who insists on showing you their holiday photographs. I feel it is part of the bandwagoning culture I despise. Morse plays music so lets have the detective shoving in a CD of obscure jazz or the pop groups of his youth. It often holds up the story and I don’t find it endearing. I feel I am being lectured and also, that the writer is showing off.

2.  Detective writers and spy writers who pepper their work with foreign words and dishes from foreign menus without explaining what they are. He sat down to a meal of struwelpeter type of thing. I even recently read a spy story by a very good writer but who, in one of his books, described a French village, saying there was an eglise. Couldn’t he just say church? If a book is set in Greece, say, surely you don’t have to have the characters actually speak to each other in Greek without giving the reader any translation. Maybe I’m just jealous that they’ve got their wretched computers to write Greek.

3.  My last hate is the over researched detective or spy story. It seems some writers, particularly those that use researchers, are determined you are going to read every blessed bit of research. For example, a spy story opens in Moscow so we go through Moscow, it seems, street by street so that by the time it gets to any action, I’ve given up. Writers who have visited the local cop shop and taken extensive notes on police procedure and so the whole story grinds to a halt in a forest of acronyms before moving on to the inevitable autopsy in all its tedious detail, and do we always, always have to have someone throwing up in a corner?

So there you have it! Which of MC Beaton’s pet hates, 1, 2 or 3, should make it into Room 101 or should perhaps all make it, or none at all? You decide!

2 thoughts on “Room 101 with MC Beaton

  1. Lesley O'Hara

    I rather like a little music in the books I read. I play music quite a lot, in the car and at home in the evenings and I don’t mind if fictional characters do so. They may prefer other types of music but sometimes that has tempted me to listen to different forms. It’s a bit like the weather, it can be useful to help set the stage.
    I do agree with all the other points, foreign words are just showing off with the author trying to appear superior, unless the author is deliberately using them to make the character appear obnoxious, as in giving them to the character to speak.
    And I really admire the point made by Devo about Frankenstein. Crime writing should be about characters, clues and crime and over-done forensic details should be in text books.

  2. dev0347

    These three are all variations on the same theme, which is that any writing which causes the reader to hear the author’s voice, rather than those of the characters, is just poor writing.

    As for point 3, it’s worth remembering that Frankenstein does not contain any explanation of how the monster was created, only that he was. To my knowledge, no-one’s ever complained that it would be better with an eight-page treatise on the science of reanimation.