Tag Archive for: Motive

For Love of Money?

Every so often when my husband and I are
watching Dateline, I’ll look over at him and say, “If you get tired of me,
divorce me. Don’t…” You may fill in the blank with whatever gruesome manner the
featured spouse has used to off their partner.
On Dateline, there is always an insurance policy in play, usually a mistress or another
man, and often heart-broken children left behind.
Dateline seems as interested in the “why”
of these killings as the “how.”
In that, Keith Morrison (the host who
exudes, “what drove the killer to do this?” with every nuance of his voice) and
I are alike.
The answer is usually money.
Thus far, when I am writing mysteries,
lucre has not appealed to me as a motive. I like secrets—the kind of secrets
people will kill to keep.
In the country club murders, where
appearance is everything (just don’t peek under the rug), characters will kill
to hold onto their reputations, keep themselves out of prison, or avoid
embarrassment. Far more interesting, at least to me, than a $50,000 life insurance
            Or perhaps not…
An excerpt from Guaranteed to Bleed follows: 

Davies wasn’t as easily cowed. “I hear you had some trouble.” Her smile might
look sympathetic but it didn’t reach her eyes. Those held all the warmth of an
early morning in late January.
looked pained.
you’re not careful, you’ll get a reputation as a black widow.”
lifted the scotch to my lips and drank. “There are worse reputations to have.”
and my late husband had something of a…relationship. When I was feeling
petty—and even when I wasn’t feeling petty—I dreamed of sharing the details of
that relationship. But, lucky for Prudence, shielding Grace from Henry’s
misdeeds was more important than dragging Prudence through the muck. Besides
given Prudence’s predilections, she might enjoy the muck—or at least being
McCreary is talking about you as if you’re some kind of heroine.” Prudence
lifted the corner of her too-thin upper lip. “Florence Nightingale
called an ambulance.”
wrinkled her nose. “She’d be better off without him.”
choked on her Tab.
gifted us another unpleasant smile, displaying her horsey teeth. “Everyone will
know by tomorrow. The man who died in your backyard was some kind of con
artist. John invested heavily. Lost everything.” She rubbed her hands together.
Some clever German coined the word Schadenfreude with Prudence Davies in
mind. She looked positively gleeful at the McCrearys’ misfortune. “Amy would be
better off if he’d died. At least she’d have his life insurance.”
once called Prudence a horse-faced, bony-assed harpy. That description was far
too kind.

Julie Mulhern is a USA Today bestselling writer who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean and she s got an active imagination. Truth is she s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions.