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Sleuth: Gail Bowen On Writing Mysteries

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  27 ratings  ·  13 reviews
How does one write a mystery? In Sleuth, Gail Bowen pulls back the curtain and offers aspiring writers her best tips. From plot to protagonist to scene, you'll learn everything you need to know about working in this popular and challenging genre.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 17th 2018 by University of Regina Press
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3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  27 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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Sebastien Castell
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing, non-fiction
Reading Gail Bowen's guide to mystery writing hit home two observations on the craft of fiction written by those who are actually good at it: first, those books are eminently more readable than the piles of rehashed "write a gigantic bestseller in three easy steps" offerings. Second, I'm not at all sure that great writers can actually convey a method anyone else can follow.

Quite possibly my favourite part of Sleuth is a short story written by Bowen herself that she breaks down for the reader int
...more
Dimitris Passas
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
''Sleuth'' is a must-read for every aspiring writer and even though Gail Bowen, the Canadian playwright and mystery novel writer from Ontario, focuses mainly on crime fiction, her book will prove to be a useful tool for all wannabe fiction authors. Bowden divides the subject into clearly defined and separated from one another categories such as Theme, Characterization, Plot and Structure, Style and Syntax etc., which helps the reader to approach each aspect individually and step-by-step he becom ...more
Clare O'Beara
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
This guide took about an hour to read and while I enjoyed some of it, I didn't learn much from the contents, though an absolute newcomer to writing would.
The author lives in a rural province of Canada and lectures in English as well as writing mystery series. Well done, but I have never heard of her books. Constantly telling us that they are beloved and have been adapted for film is not teaching anything about crime writing. She also spends far too many pages discussing her own plots and charac
...more
Neil Plakcy
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Very ordinary-- perhaps useful for a novice writer, but unless you're very familiar with Bowen's work (I'm not) then the excessive examples from her novels fall flat, and there wasn't anything special to take away.
Diane Hernandez
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
If you never took or only vaguely remember a college English 100 class, Sleuth: Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries is a perfect read for aspiring or new writers. It is also extremely useful for book reviewers like myself.

Within Sleuth: Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries, Ms. Bowen extensively covers all the elements of the novel:
• Theme
• Characterization: protagonist, secondary and minor characters
• Narrative perspective
• Setting
• Plot and structure
• Style and syntax

She also divides up the writing pro
...more
Dawn Alexander
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-for-2018
3.5 stars
As a mystery writer, I was thrilled to be approved for this book! I was expecting practical strategies to improve my current writing process. While Sleuth offered valuable insight and examples, it read more like Stephen King's On Writing or Janet Evanovich's How I Write than the how-to guide I was expecting.

Gail Bowen clearly knows her genre and craft. She is a multi-award winning author with several titles that have been turned into movies. The first few chapters are dedicated to how G
...more
Margaret Bessai
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Bowen's work used the genre of mystery to discuss our times, and in this concise, useful and fun read she gives insight into her porcess, as well as good writing advice.
The review from Publisher's weekly says it so well:
"Bowen’s slim, useful guide expertly takes writers through the craft of writing mystery fiction. She is the author of 17 novels in the Joanne Kilbourn series (including A Colder Kind of Death, which won an Arthur Ellis Award), and her three decades of experienc
...more
Debbie
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
I recently attended a book talk and signing by Gail Bowen partly because I have been reading her books for years and I find them interesting and insightful, but also because I wanted to meet the woman who has created the world of Joanne Kilbourne Shreve in my home-town of Regina, Saskatchewan. This how-to book reveals many of the ways that she and other successful writers create a readable story - many of the answers she already shared in her personal talk.
There's many reasons why Gail Bowen's
...more
Christine Brown
I've read most of the Joanne Kilbourn mystery series set in Saskatchewan and enjoyed them. I was very happy when Joanne met and married Zack Shreve. Zack has a physical disability which doesn't seem to deter him from being a bit of a bad boy when we first meet him. He is also the highest paid lawyer in Regina. It is empowering to read about someone with a physical disability living a full life. Anyway, Sleuth, is a great read for anyone interested in writing a mystery book.
Bonnie  Zink
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An important read for all writers! This short tome lays out a logical process to writing a mystery novel. More importantly, it shows. writers how one of Saskatchewan's most famous and popular writers continues to create one of our favourite mystery series.
Mary Anne
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A quick logical inspiration to write mystery novels. Bowen gives many examples from her own and other works.
Susan Toy
rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2018
Cindy Lauren
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The book was not what I thought, but I ended up liking it.
Reading lots of mysteries in no way prepares anyone to write one. Some of the suggestions she makes are really helpful as both a reader and writer..
Her attitude is great, humorous and supportive, great book to have around for all kinds of writing.
Robin
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Leyla Johnson
Mar 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was interested to see what makes a best seller, unfortunately for me it concentrates too much on one specific style, personally I do not like modern crime, and I do not like books that rely on building on the same characters. It is a pity a well developed plot and puzzle is hard to find - even if the characters are wooden - they do make a good read
For me this book was interesting, but I certainly expected a little more.
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Gail Dianne Bowen (née Bartholomew) is a Canadian playwright and writer of mystery novels. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bowen was educated at the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the University of Saskatchewan. She subsequently taught English in Saskatchewan, and is currently a professor of English at First Nations University of Canada. Bowen's mystery novels feature Joanne Kilbo ...more