I've been busy adding to the Al Pennyback series, and in those I follow the rules of mystery writing; a crime, a criminal and victim, lots of clues, and a protoganist who faces long odds but prevails in the end. A good mystery story, though, doesn't always have to be about a crime. In my latest short story, Sour Note, a continuation of a series of stories about Louis Dumkowski, a born loser who finally wins in the end - or at least seems to be winning - I offered a mystery that was a crime; a missing hundred dollar bill. In a relatively short space of time, I inserted a bit of humor and local color; further developed the main characters, Louis and his best friend Cleatus Washington; gave a little background to give first time readers a sense of where they were coming from, and then at the very end, solved the mystery.
It was an exercise of my writing muscles; short fiction is a lot harder than novel length works; and a continuation of a series of short stories that I've come to love and that have garnered a few loyal readers if the comments I get are any guide. In addition, it won an Editor's Choice Award from Fiction Writers Platform, a site for those who love short fiction, and won the Monthly Theme Award - Mystery.
Just one more validation of a truth about the business of writing; if you give readers and editors what they want, it really doesn't matter how long it is, or even if it follows traditional rules. Good story telling is what it's all about. Anyone who happens to read it and has comments, I'd love to hear from you, either here or at my blog, http://charlesaray.blogspot.com/. Cheers, and keep cranking out those mysteries.