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The Woman in White Marble

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A Highly Unusual Mix

A highly unusual mix of influences – detective story, Proust, science fiction, the paranormal, romance – combined to make a pager-turning story with a most satisfying ending.
{Amazon Review}

Question: What do gumshoe, science fiction, murder mystery , and ghost story have in common?

Answer: The Woman in White Marble.

I’m not sure I started out with the aim of mixing all these genres in one bowl, but that’s how it ended up. And given the first flurry of reviews on Amazon and Powell’s Books it seems to have worked. (See: The Back Road Café)

As I said in a previous blog (The Simple Fusion of Memory and Imagination), I’m not sure where the gumshoe voice came from. I had a fairly clear idea of who my main protagonist, Drake Ramsey, was and the gumshoe voice just appeared in the writing. In truth, of course, I’m having fun with the genre, and while some have compared it to Raymond Chandler, this book was written in 2014 looking back and playing off a genre that found its form in the1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. The voice in The Woman in White Marble is primarily, I think, humorous and a means of exposing who Drake Ramsey really is, with all his overblown confidences and insecurities.

While the gumshoe pretension may be slightly hidden, the sci fi element of the book is not. The sci fi in The Woman in White Marble is clearly a parody of genuine science fiction. I wanted to have fun with it, to make the reading of the book more enjoyable, and to give the reader a clear window into the soul of Drake Ramsey. The ploy is fairly common: a protagonist writing a novel. However, what Drake writes is so enjoyably and obviously about his own life, we end up laughing while getting to know Drake himself. I believe it works because of the story-within-a-story element, which reviewers have enjoyed. Our gumshoe reporter and his sci fi adventure become one in the mystery that is The Woman in White Marble.

The murder mystery was always at the heart of the book. Here too I have a little fun with the genre, actually discussing the “locked room mystery” as the characters try to solve it. It’s more Agatha Christie then Patricia Cornwell. Even so, the murder mystery genre goes hand in hand with the gumshoe voice as Drake aids the police in solving the murder in the hotel.

As for the ghost, well, that’s a twist most people might not expect, so much so that my editor insisted I let the reader know there was a ghost involved on the first page. In the first paragraph I wrote: “Trust me. I’m telling it straight up—and believe you me, it’s a story worth telling. Murder, a marble statue with a past, and one hell of a sexy ghost.” Truth is, there were rumours that the real life Skinburness Hotel had a female ghost running around its halls, so as the story took shape in my mind, it was hard to leave her out.

With that, however, I will say no more on the oft chance you haven’t read The Woman in White Marble. After all, at the heart of the book, someone gets murdered and someone gets caught. I shouldn’t be revealing all in a blog.

Copyright © 2015 Dale Rominger

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