Your Life: A Mystery Novel

You are a world-renowned mystery writer living a life of seclusion. A random email informs you of a great story, the next bestseller. Unfortunately, you find the details to be a little too close to home. Write a scene where you confront this mysterious informant, who seems to know a little too much about your personal life.

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362 thoughts on “Your Life: A Mystery Novel

  1. meyersj5

    “And so marks the end of another classic mystery,” sighed Don Thompson, as he closed down his computer. The world-renowned author had finalized the series chronicling the life of Jack Pierce, a computer programmer who was pushed into game of deception, murder, and cover-ups. It no longer mattered whether Jack lived or died, as the fans of the series had now become enthralled with the movie version of his books. At least that’s what Don thought.

    His phone beeped, signaling a new email had been received. Unaware of who might be emailing him at this hour, he grew curious. The sender had managed to cover up his or her identity and the subject line read only, “READ ME IMMEDIATELY.” Relatively sure it was a spam attempt, Don moved it to the Trash on his phone email client and set it down to make a cup of chamomile tea.

    His phone vibrated to life once again, this time with a text message: “Read the email, Don. Don’t make me tell you twice.” Don nearly dropped the phone as he read the message again and again. This new presence in his life felt menacing. He sat down at the computer desk, restarted his computer, and returned the once-ignored email from his Trash bin to the Inbox and began reading.

    “Hi Don – You don’t know me but it’s imperative that you read this message and understand it well. I’m very aware of the final progress you’re making on the Pierce books. You currently have him dying in Paris as he attempts his final rescue of his true love. This cannot happen. If you don’t want to turn this work of fiction into reality, you’ll change the story. You have one week. You cannot keep your family safe. I hear Miami is beautiful this time of year…”

    The air escaped from his lungs as he finished reading. His estranged wife and daughter lived in Miami and Jennifer had filed for a restraining order against him, fraudulently claiming that she feared for her life. The judge had ruled in her favor, surmising that a mystery writer must have connections to the dark world of crime. How could he warn them? Who was this mystery reader and how could he or she know the details of the book? He hadn’t even sent the final installment of the series to his editors for final review. He clicked reply:

    “I don’t know who you are, but there’s no way you could know what you claim to know about my story. I will call the police if you contact me or my family again.” He pushed send and waited with baited breath.

    His phone vibrated with a sense of urgency. It was a picture message from his new “friend” of his daughter sleeping. “She looks so peaceful. Can it stay that way forever?” He sat at his computer screen, staring at his daughter. “She’s only 13. Leave her alone. I’ll do it.”

  2. Adan Ramie

    This one was written a little tongue-in-cheek, goes off prompt, and looks better when formatted in MS Word. (Please excuse any HTML markup errors.)

    “Inspired By True Events”

    You crawl through the tunnel, suddenly aware of your own breathing, trying to pretend that you aren’t slithering to your own imminent destruction. Something cold and slimy drips onto your face and slides down your cheek, making you shudder, and you crawl faster. Just when you think you’ll never reach the end, the bottom drops out from under you, and you plummet through the air and land on something rubbery and warm.

    The doorbell rang, and Nathan swore. He pushed back from his keyboard and looked toward the front door. He could see a familiar shape standing there through the (something) glass, and he wrapped his bath robe more tightly around himself as he made his way there.

    “Hey, Mr. Trove. It’s a nice night for writing, huh?” The teenager smiled up at the writer. “Working on your new book?”

    “Yeah.” Nathan Trove took the bagged Chinese takeout from the boy and shoved cash into his hand. “That cover it?”

    The delivery boy’s shoulders fell. “Yes, sir.” He made change, but before he could hand it over, the door was already shutting in his face.

    Nathan took his food into the kitchen and made himself a plate of dumplings, his rice in a bowl on the side. He squirted soy sauce into a little bowl and placed it directly in the center of the arranged dumplings.
    Food in hand, he made his way back to his computer, only to hear the ding of a new email notification. He noshed on dumplings as he read it. Halfway down the attached document, he choked and spit the dumpling back onto his plate. Pushing it aside, he rubbed his eyes and squinted at the text on the screen.

    Tate Roven’s fingers danced over the keys of his laptop, immersed in his imaginary world, when there was a knock at the door. He spat a curse word, then pushed back and went to answer it. As usual, the delivery boy was early, waiting with a smile and word of encouragement as side dishes to his delicious wares.

    The handsome teenager, known only as Scribe, hoped that tonight, his hero would invite him in for some Dim Sum and writerly conversation. Instead, the man took his food, left Scribe with the change as an afterthought, and shut the door in his face. As usual.

    The renowned author carefully placed the food on his plate in a pattern only he could understand. He squeezed soy sauce from the plastic packs into a small dish, which he placed directly in the center of the plate, as he always did. Leaving the rest of the take out on the counter, he made his way back to his computer to read back over what he had written in the last hour. Instead, he found an email waiting for him from a loyal fan and fellow creator.

  3. Abby Gracino

    Sitting at my brown, plain, boring desk, I spun around in my rolling chair. I pushed myself along the smooth, hardwood floors. I glided freely, and it felt like I was flying. I remember when I felt like that all the time.

    I’ve been taking a break, you see, from my very busy, full-time job of writing mystery novels. You may think that anyone can write mystery novels, but let me tell you something. I had a gift. One like no other, or so I was told. Many people came up to me on the streets to commend me or give me compliments, but the thing that really confirmed my suspected “gift” was the paycheck I received.

    I had all the money in the world. I could afford anything I could possibly want, but I didn’t want anything. I was fulfilled already. I’d become the successful author that I wanted to be, and that was enough.

    Believe it or not, I don’t have any money left. I’ve given most of it to my elderly mother and my two younger siblings. The rest was donated to charity. It seemed like the best thing to do with the money, since I didn’t have any use for it.

    All I have left now is that wooden desk. I could’ve bought the most extravagant desk in the history of the universe with all the money I made, but I chose not to. I wanted to keep my desk. After all, it was the one I learned the alphabet at; the one I read my first picture book at; and the one I wrote all five of my mystery novels at.

    Now it’s the desk that houses my laptop computer. How times have changed.

    I suddenly heard a ‘DING’ coming from my laptop. I rolled my chair back over to the desk and opened up my email. I had one new message from an anonymous sender.

    “Hello, friend. It has come to my attention that you are no longer writing novels, which truly saddens me. Please take my fresh idea for a new novel into consideration.

    A man, a writer, perhaps, has secluded himself from the human species. His stash of cash is sought-after by many starving artists, but every time a paycheck rolls in, the money seems to disappear. This writer is too suspicious, and his fanbase craves answers, but he has nothing to say; nothing to communicate to them anymore.”

    I sunk into my chair, taking it all in. This person was starting to creep me out. I felt my fingers hitting the keys. I usually didn’t respond to fanmail, but this one was different.

    “Hello, anon. The way you acquired this information, which highlights the past few years of my life, is a mystery novel within itself. There is no possible way you could know all of this. Your idea will not be taken into consideration.”

    I pressed send. The computer dinged again after a few minutes.

    “No. I am your father.”