When I was a little girl…
…my English father loved to stump me with riddles. One day he presented this mathematical puzzle with words something like, “You go to school. Can you sum (his twentieth century word for calculate) this answer?
As I was going to Saint Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kittens,
Kittens, cats, sacks, wives,
How many were going to Saint Ives?
Numbers raced though my head as quick as the horses out of the gates at the Kentucky Derby. I blurted out the answer with great confidence in anticipation of praise. My father shook his head and smirked—yes, smirked—to indicate that I was a mile from the finish line. I thought about my confident, but wrong, answer as I struggled with a new riddle in revising my suspense manuscript. “Whose story is this?”
Not the victim (she’s dead). Not her parents (they don’t know she’s dead). Not the man who owns the RV where the victim was found (he’s in a Houston hospital a few miles from her parents). I try a different avenue to solve my riddle.
If Captain Luis Rojas rubs the mole at his right temple while he hears crime details by phone, is it his point of view? If Detective Taylor Madrid scratches her head as she views the crime scene, does the POV shift to her? If Maricopa County Sheriff Marc Jameson raises his eyebrows when he sees the trussed body in the shower, is he the protagonist?
I puzzle through the first chapters. My characters nod in passing, all going the opposite direction. I must solve the riddle as I travel alone like the man on the road to Saint Ives.