A book’s heart
A book is a complex blend of the author’s intentions. Some of them are on the surface: shaping an exciting plot; exploring the lives of the characters; bringing to light a place the writer knows and loves.
Other elements of a novel are less obvious. Themes of relationship and responsibility are woven in. Trauma and recovery are explored. The deeper feelings and motivations of the characters are gently teased into the light.
For various reasons, I have been thinking about The Art of Detection recently. This is a book I wrote eight years ago, the last (so far) of the Martinelli novels. It began with a suggestion by my editor, who mused that it might be interesting to see a meeting between Kate Martinelli, modern homicide cop, and Mary Russell, early 20th century amateur sleuth.
So I set off into a world linking Sherlock Holmes with a modern police department, and since it’s San Francisco, there is as much humor as there is darkness. I felt my way into the central plot, and found ways to tie the secondary plot in, and I guess the mechanism worked because Booklist later wrote:
Sometimes a mystery takes one’s breath away with its impeccable, inexorable logic. King makes two such tales here, whose wheels interlock with a perfect, audible click.
complex and amusing characters, ideas the reader hasn’t come across before—are not the point. If I have done my job right, the story also serves to cradle something ineffable, a truth both emotional and spiritual, that stays with the reader.
The Supreme Court of the United States is currently considering the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8, which banned gay marriage. What the Court are considering is also the central concern of The Art of Detection. I would love to send those nine men and women a novel, a mystery in which a SFPD Inspector meets the historical Sherlock Holmes.
My publishers agreed that the pending Supreme Court decision made for a good time to introduce The Art of Detection to those who have not met it. So they’ve put it on special offer, currently 99¢. Perhaps it may contribute some small part to the discussion of whether or not two people of the same sex have the right to marry.
The Art of Detection:
Independent booksellers (Kobo) here.
Barnes & Noble (Nook) here.
Amazon (Kindle) here.