Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help!

helpWriting my newest mystery has been a challenge as I found my detectives, O’Roarke and Garcia and the killer in several situations where I have Cover.Angel - Copylittle or no knowledge and the Internet produced hardly anything with regard to my research.

So, I had to ‘rely on the kindness
of strangers….’

Since my fourth murder mysteries is heavy on police procedural, forensics, and pathology, not to mention the Catholic faith, I made several cold calls to people I didn’t know.  Would they help me?

A resounding ‘YES’!  I’ve mentioned before that I am in touch with a private investigator in NYC who is the be-all when it comes to crime scene investigation, sherlock PIforensics, and police procedures.  Vinnie Parso, Private Investigations has been such a treat to work with that I have introduce a new character in my latest story.  ‘Vito Vandellino, PI is a pain in the side of Detective Sergeant Jack O’Roarke.’


The stomach contents of my murder victim was key to finding the serial killer.  What do I know about stomach content?  Nothing and I want to keep it that way! pathologist So I called the ME’s (Medical (Examiner) office here in Savannah, asking if one of the pathologists would help me with my questions.  How much do they do on contents analysis?  Or do they just note any recognizable food?  It was important to the integrity of my story to find out that ‘cookies’ would be long gone from the stomach by the time the ME did the autopsy.  And I had to find out if grape juice would be discernible.  (Are you intrigued yet?)  Dr. Donahue, Forensic Pathologist and a complete stranger, was so helpful.

prieistNext: what I know about the Catholic church and the confessional you could put in a thimble.  And getting it right is the most important part of my new mystery.  So I ask a friend who is a devout Catholic for her church’s phone number and that’s how I found Father Gabe.  I explained who I was and how I got his number and asked if he would help me understand confession and the confessional and his duties as a priest.  Did you know that a priest is exempt from prosecution even when a murderer has confessed the sin of murder and the priest does not report it to law enforcement?  A priest can be excommunicated from the church if he were to break the vow of the confessional, and I’m sure that would mean a stint in hell.  It was a fascinating discussion we had; branching off into philosophical opinions about what he would do with the information as a priest and as a man.  He was a wonderful resource.

So writers, don’t be afraid to ask for help…..I have found people eager to assist and fascinated with what we do. help3

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