Cozy Mysteries discussion

Lethal Treasure (Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries #8)
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Book and Series discussions > I need a small rant about "Lethal Treasure" SPOILERS

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Diana Dunn (dianaxdunn) | 49 comments I have always enjoyed this series…but I am really unhappy with this one.

And no one my house cares! (about the book, they all care about me…at least I hope so…)

SPOILER ALERT

The motive for the murder? The couple had to stay married for two years so the husband could get his green card and the wife wanted out, so rather than wait, she just killed him.

Except…that is not true. Couples can (and do) get divorced, sometimes within days or weeks of getting married…as long as the marriage was entered into in "good faith" on the part of the intending immigrant, he or she can apply for a waiver and stay in the US without staying in the marriage.

Any good immigration lawyer consulted (and the husband supposedly consulted one) would know this. And if that was a problem, there are a bunch of other visas that hubby could have applied for regardless of the state of his marriage. If he had $500,000 to invest in his business (and we are told he did), he could have used that as the basis for a business visa, for example. There are lots of options that didn't mean that his wife had to kill him.

Sorry to rant, but this is all basic stuff and very easy to discover on the US Immigration website, if I were plotting an entire book around this as a motive, I would make absolutely sure I had my facts straight…


Okay…rant over…normal service may resume!


message 2: by HJ (new)

HJ I haven't read this book but I absolutely agree with you that something so fundamental to the plot should have been checked, and you're quite right to be so fed up about it.

I was just going to say that an editor should have spotted it and told the author - and then I wondered how that conversation would have gone! By that stage the author really wouldn't want to know. Except - readers are going to be as annoyed as you are.


Diana Dunn (dianaxdunn) | 49 comments Thanks for understanding! ;-)

You make a great point…an editor should have caught it…and it would have been a very difficult chat…

I've checked the Amazon reviews and no one else is commenting on it, so I'm guessing that most readers don't have the same knowledge of immigration law that I have (hubby is British and we've done immigration both ways so I do, probably, know more than the average American).

I may just have to leave review on Amazon like the one I put on here…very carefully so as not to spoil the ending…which is why I needed this rant as well!

;-)


❂ Murder by Death  (murderbydeath) I haven't read this book, but I read a book last year that totally ignored basic divorce law in Georgia (something I know quite a bit about - ahem), in order to get the MC involved in the investigation. Drove me right around the bend. But nobody else noticed and everybody loved the book. I guess some can just suspend disbelief more than others.

Luckily, the second book in the series was much better. :)


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan (mysterywriter) | 201 comments Diana wrote: "I have always enjoyed this series…but I am really unhappy with this one..."

A way-out-there idea: is it possible the author decided to fictionalize immigration details? If so, I'd expect an author's note explaining that, wouldn't you?


message 6: by JoAnne (new)

JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book) | 55 comments You'd be surprised how many books I read that the author didn't do their homework. It makes me crazy when I read a book and find incorrect information. AND (I won't name the book), I read one where in the first two books a couple dated, but in the third book decided to "put their relationship on hold" because they worked together and it wouldn't be right! What-? I know people who not only date and work together, but there are people who are married and work together! So it was totally stupid anyway. Books don't always make sense.


message 7: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 152 comments I can comment from both sides. As a reader I was staggered when a fellow writer had a coroner explain he could determine skeletal remains were female because the pelvic opening was narrow. I told him that was backwards and troubling; he said no one but me would care. AGH!

As a writer, I set my mysteries in Santa Cruz in the world of real estate because I live here and was a Realtor for 25 years. I know what I'm talking about. For everything else in the books, I research like crazy. I've also met some terrific people and been given fun information because of conducting interviews with them to be certain my facts in their area of expertise are correct.

That being said, I may decide to take liberties as I did with currents moving bodies at a predictable speed off the coast.


message 8: by HJ (new)

HJ Nancy wrote: "I can comment from both sides. As a reader I was staggered when a fellow writer had a coroner explain he could determine skeletal remains were female because the pelvic opening was narrow. I told h..."

You're not the only one who would (a) notice and (b) care - I would do both! But that isn't the point, really; the point is that he introduced the concept of sexing a skeleton by considering the pelvis and, having done so, he should make certain he gets it right.

I'm used to reading books in which accuracy matters; not only mysteries but also historical fiction. It seems to me that if an author chooses to write in those fields then there is an implicit contract with the reader that sufficient care will be taken to get the facts right. Both types of fiction require an extra attention to detail. If an author wants to have a completely free rein then write in another genre!

I think it's OK to take some liberties with less crucial matters (like your ocean currents), but I would expect an Author's Note acknowledging that. It would be a sensible pre-emptive act, too, in case an oceanologist takes offence at "inaccuracy"!


❂ Murder by Death  (murderbydeath) I always read the author acknowledgements and any author notes and if they say "I've taken liberties..." I'm totally fine with that. It's fiction. But I can't stand when an author just depends upon the ignorance of their readers, which is what I feel like they're doing when they make obvious mistakes because they can't be stuffed doing the proper research.

/rant over


message 10: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 5280 comments Nancy wrote: "I can comment from both sides. As a reader I was staggered when a fellow writer had a coroner explain he could determine skeletal remains were female because the pelvic opening was narrow. I told h..."

Are you kidding??? No one but you would notice?? What kind of morons does he take his readers for?? Funny what that kind of arrogance can end up doing to a person....and his book sales!


message 11: by HJ (new)

HJ ❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "I always read the author acknowledgements and any author notes and if they say "I've taken liberties..." I'm totally fine with that. It's fiction. But I can't stand when an author just depends up..."

Hear, hear!


message 12: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Brenner (amandabrenner) I agree that an author should check his/her facts; when they don't it annoys me because I enjoy learning things when I read, and I depend on the author to give me accurate information--I don't care how archaic it is, I want to know that what I read, even if it's a fictionalized account, is based on fact and that fact is accurate.


message 13: by HJ (new)

HJ Amanda wrote: "I agree that an author should check his/her facts; when they don't it annoys me because I enjoy learning things when I read, and I depend on the author to give me accurate information--I don't care..."

I agree.


Diana Dunn (dianaxdunn) | 49 comments You guys are wonderful. I'm so pleased that you all understand where I'm coming from. I double checked the author's notes and acknowledgements and she doesn't mention taking any liberties with immigration law. She also doesn't acknowledge the help of any immigration attorneys, at least not anyone identified as such. I've written a note to the author on their website contact form. I'll let you know if I ever hear back.

I never realized, when I set my books in the future, how much easier it was going to make my life! ;-)


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan (mysterywriter) | 201 comments Diana wrote: "You guys are wonderful. I'm so pleased that you all understand where I'm coming from. I double checked the author's notes and acknowledgements and she doesn't mention taking any liberties with im..."

Let's hope the author appreciates your close attention to details!

From the discussion here, it seems clear that readers don't mind writers adjusting facts to fit the fiction, but we all seem to expect some acknowledgment from the writer.

My personal favorite was one titled "Confession" in Nevada Barr's book Borderline. If you haven't read the book, the "confession" might motivate you to do so, particularly if you know Big Bend National Park. Here's the blurb:

"For purposes of mine own I have done many terrible things. I have moved thousands of tons of rocks from Mexico to America at the rock slide in Santa Elena Canyon. I have rerouted roads and allowed horses to be ridden where they are banned by park regulation. I have changed park protocols and, in some dire cases, rewritten a rule or two. In my defense, I have given the park a shiny new helicopter and updated a few other sundry pieces of machinery. Now that the book is finished, I promise to return Big Bend to the pristine and well-run park that I found it."


Diana Dunn (dianaxdunn) | 49 comments I love that "confession"…I'm pretty sure I've read some of her stuff in the past and will now look for that one…I don't know Big Bend National Park, but I'm intrigued…

And you're right, I wouldn't have minded if she had said "hey, I rewrote immigration law to fit my plot" at the end of the book…(Okay, I might have still minded a little bit, because motive is such a huge part of figuring out whodunit…but I would have minded less!)


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan (mysterywriter) | 201 comments Diana wrote: "...And you're right, I wouldn't have minded if she had said "hey, I rewrote immigration law to fit my plot" at the end of the book…(Okay, I might have still minded a little bit, because motive is such a huge part of figuring out whodunit…but I would have minded less!) ..."

I agree. To me, there's a difference between taking fictional liberties with key facts that drive the polot and changing geographical details.

In my own series I hadn't planned to make major changes to the actual landscape, but changed my mind while researching the first in the series. Part of the story involves Ozark treasure tales and I came across several landowners whose property had previously been targeted by treasure hunters who left significant damage in their wake. Since these folks are my regional neighbors, I didn't want to add to their problems!

~Susan

p.s. If treasure tales intrigue you, I recommend readingOzark Tales and Superstitions and Buried Treasures of the Ozarks.


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