Articles

WRITING MYSTERIES AND MURDERS

AT A ZOO

(With Caution and Care for the Animals)

By

Marcia Rosen

 

New Mexico is a land of amazing sunrises and sunsets with a sky constantly changing

color and forms, mountains framing the background, and a desert that stretches across the

mesa often giving the land a mystical feeling. Known as the land of enchantment it still

has its share of mysteries, ancient and new. As a mystery writer, I find it intriguing and

exciting to involve this land as an important character in my new mystery. Place is often

as important a character as the people in a novel.

 

But at a zoo? Well, yes, with much caution and caring for the animals. Please

don’t worry about the animals in my stories. They are well-cared-for and loved. In

Murder At The Zoo, two lion cubs are born: Imani (meaning faith) and Sabrina. They are

“adorable and not the least bit camera shy.” Mom and Dad, Kamali and Kasi, are very

proud and protective parents. A baby zebra is born and there is a contest to name him. In

fact, after the two main characters in the book, the veterinarian and detective, watch the

foal being born, she tells him with a grin, “We just had a baby.” The poor guy is a bit freaked at that comment.

Miranda and Bryan alternate between flirting and fighting off

romantic feelings. Murder keeps getting in their way.

 

The zoo veterinarian and the charming police detective become romantically

involved as they work toward solving a series of murders. Their romance certainly has a

hefty fair share of friction and interruptions since her father is a gangster—even though

he claims to be retired. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty! There are also a number

of other interesting, crazy, and unusual characters, as well as a fair share of humor to

encourage you to smile a bit.

 

Writing any murder mystery book is akin to putting together a puzzle with a

thousand pieces. When the mystery begins with a murder at a popular zoo, there is bound

to be a need to also add a lot of positive animal experiences. And I make sure to do that.

 

The good characters are interesting and appealing, so the question becomes how

to present the bad guys and surprise the reader? An appealing mystery hopefully leads the

reader astray a bit by placing suspicion and blame on various suspects. It’s important to

have the reader involved and interested in your story, so they attempt to solve the crimes

along with you. Don’t make it too easy.

Still, murders at a zoo?

Excerpt:

“Miranda, get to the zoo! Visitors are pointing at a human arm in the lions’

enclosure.”

“Hmmm. This is intriguing. A body in the lions’ den. What are the facts?”

“Agatha, Raymond, facts if you please,” Sherlock demanded.

“All of you shut up!”

 

It was not the first time Miranda shouted to the voices in her head.

Sometimes they seemed so real to her. She had read nearly every book of every

famous mystery writer and had seen movies made from them many times.

 

Miranda loved their ways of thinking, analyzing problems, finding solutions,

and delving into the dark spaces hidden in humanity: Raymond Chandler’s tough

Detective, Philip Marlowe, who always found a dame he could lust after and distrust

and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and her Tommy and Tuppence.

Their gossip and ways of finding clues and uncovering secrets swirled in her head,

while the famous Sherlock Homes demanded facts and attention to the tiniest of

details.

Miranda was sure they would have plenty to say about the murder at the zoo.

 

Again, why would I choose a zoo as a place for a murder mystery? Why would

anyone? Well really, why murder anyone, anywhere for that matter? Even when the

murders take place at a zoo, you eventually have to get the bad guys to talk or confess or

have someone give them up. Along the way, you are also on the chase with your

characters through conflict, danger, and mystery. In Agatha, Raymond, Sherlock & Me:

Murder at the Zoo, these characters are often telling the veterinarian what to think or do

and not do. In addition, this book provides an opportunity to give a positive voice the

wonderful reasons for the existence of zoos.

Ultimately, you want to be able to explain your characters’ motivations for their

criminal behavior. Common sources are anger, hate, power, money and, of course,

revenge. Revealing truths, secrets, and lies with stories of betrayal and vengeance and

surprise endings can leave your readers wanting more. Your first sentence, your first

paragraph, should grab your reader. . . maybe even by the throat, like a good murder!

 

Many years ago, we had a lassie collie who thought she was a lap dog, and my

son and she adored each other. It’s good for children to grow up with pets and learn to

care for them. It’s also wonderful for adults to have the love of an animal who doesn’t

judge them.

Right?

The main benefits of zoos include conservation, education and research programs that are

designed to preserve and protect wild populations of animals, as well as educate.

Some Fun facts about zoos:

 There are more than 2800 zoos and aquariums all over the world.

 Every year, more than a hundred million people visit zoos. This number exceeds

the total attendance of all big-league basketball, football, and baseball games.

 There are 350 zoos in the US.

 The first public zoo in the US was opened in 1874 in New York and was called

the Central Park Zoo.

 April 8 th is National Zoo Lover’s Day.

A BOLD THIRD ACT

By

M. Glenda Rosen (aka Marcia G. Rosen)

 

NO! I do not want to retire because I’m a senior. Absolutely not!

 

More than ever, seniors are living full and engaging lives. More than 45 million

Americans are over the age of 65 and millions of them still work— some by choice, some

by necessity.

 

In what I consider my BOLD THIRD ACT, I’m writing mysteries. I’m bringing my

passion for writing together with my rather unusual upbringing. In doing so, I am writing

with more insight and purpose. As seniors, we can use our life experiences—whether

failures, challenges or successes—to bring about enjoyable and productive lives filled

with doing something we relate to and love. This is why the seniors in the mysteries I

write are strong, smart and active main characters.

 

Mysteries and crime are in probably in my DNA. It never occurred to me my father and

his friends were doing anything illegal. The environment I grew up with seemed perfectly

natural to me. It’s what I saw everyday: My father was a bookie. He also owned a

gambling hall where the men played pool in the front and poker in a private back room.

My father and his partners would count the take from sports bets at our kitchen table.

Once there was a raid on his partner’s apartment, which was right across from ours!

 

My father’s close friends had names like The Gig, Gimp and Doc. So, it makes sense that

I’m fascinated by slightly shady characters, and crime and mystery stories. Once, I wrote

a memoir story and referred to my mother as my father’s “gun moll.” Believe me, she

was a character as well!

 

I’ve been a business owner for more than 40 years, which includes having a successful

marketing and public relations agency for more than 20 years. I used to explain to clients

that I was a “business detective,” finding solutions to problems that seemed a mystery to

them. Of course, people and life in general are often a mystery.

 

My kids have encouraged me to, “Go for it!” They do not want me to slow down, sit

around and dream of days past. They don’t want me to use age and going to doctors as a

social outlet as so many elderly people do. They don’t even want me to have grey hair!

To those who do not agree: Sorry! I think I still have much to offer and enjoy. Positive

aging is important to me, and writing is my way of showing it.

 

I used to tell friends that I was too old to see my dreams and ambitions to be a successful

author come true. Yet, I refused to give up trying, and now my new mystery series, “The

has been published and more are on the way with my publisher, Level Best Books.

 

When I was doing consulting and public speaking, I’d often ask business and professional

women to ask themselves: “What voices in your head do you need to eliminate? Get rid

of the negative voices that say, ‘Who do you think you are?’ and ‘You can’t do it.’ ”

 

Now in my senior life, I’m reminded through conversations over a cup of coffee with my

friends, my age and some younger, “We all matter.” What you want and who you are

matters. We can make a difference at any age. Moreover, as we grow older, we can also

share our experience, knowledge and, even at times, a good bit of wisdom.

In my mystery series, “The Senior Sleuths,” my senior characters represent my beliefs

with energy and enthusiasm. These characters are my voice and reflect my truths?

 

Marcia Glenda Rosen

 

www.MarciaRosen.com

MarciagRosen@gmail.com

516-650-3018
 

Marcia Rosen (aka M. Glenda Rosen) is the author of ten books including The Senior Sleuths, the

Dying To Be Beautiful Mystery Series and The Gourmet Gangster: Mysteries and Menus (which

she wrote with her son Jory Rosen). 2021 and is winner, New Mexico and Arizona Book Awards.

She is also the author of The Woman’s Business Therapist and award winning My Memoir

Workbook. For 25 years she was owner of a successful national marketing and public relations

agency. She is a member of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and Albuquerque, Southwest Writers,

Women Writing the West, Central Coast Writers, New Mexico Book Association, Public Safety

Writer’s Association, and National Association of Independent Writers and Editors—for which

she is also a current board member. Also Vice President of Croak and Dagger, 2022.

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries & Menus by The Family

Guest Post & Recipe featured on:
Mystery Reads, Mystery Fanfare, Thonie Hevron & Marilyn's Musings

"In Conversation with M. Glenda Rosen"

The Dames' Docket Level Best Books Newsletter, pg 3

July/August, 2020

"About Being An Author"

Central Coast Writers Scribbles Newsletter, pg 6

September, 2020

The Senior Sleuths Book 3:

Dead in THAT Beach House

Sisters In Crime Croak & Dagger Nooseletter, pg 3

July/August, 2020

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries & Menus by The Family

Featured on Thonie Hevron

December, 2019

 

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries & Menus by The Family

Featured on Marilyn's Musings

December, 2019

 

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries & Menus by The Family

Featured on Mystery Fanfare

December, 2019

 

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries & Menus by The Family

Featured on Mystery Reads

December, 2019

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries and Menus by The Family

Sisters In Crime Stiletta Newsletter        

November, 2019

 

The Gourmet Gangster:

Mysteries & Menus by The Family
Mystery Scene Magazine, November, 2019
Public Safety Writer's Association Newsletter, October, 2019

 

A Bold Third Act

Janet Rudolf - Mystery Fanfare Blog

2019

RETREAT

A Vermont Secret

2019

Stiletta

Writing A Mystery, Is It A Mystery?

Sisters In Crime

2019

The Gangsters Daughter

Thonie Hevron Blog

February, 2019

and book review!

The Gangsters Daughter

Marilyn Meridith Blog

Bold Third Act

October 9, 2018

"Writing a Mystery... Does It Have To Be A Mystery?" 

September Public Safety Writers Association Newsletter

Available HERE, September 2018​

Woodland Pond Newsletter 

The Senior Sleuths author, M. Glenda Rosen offers interesting book talks

Read It Here

Monterey Local Authors Fest

"Home Tomes"

Monterey County Weekly

Summer Reading Issue

July 5th, 2018

Read It Here

"Writing a Mysteries Is it a Mystery?" 

Sisters In Crime Quarterly

June, 2018

Read It Here

A Bold Third Act

Senior Lifestyle Magazine

Spring, 2018

&

Senior Newspapers

Upstate New York

Spring, 2018

Guest Blog Post 

Mysteristas

June 25th, 2018

 

The Gangsters Daughter

Mystery Scene Magazine

Spring, 2018

Read It Here

A Collection of Pens

Sisters In Crime, LA

March, 2018

The Gangsters Daughter

Janet Rudolph - Mystery Reads Blog

February, 2018

Being A Writer

Women Business Owners Club

February, 2018

Modern Noir

Malice Domestic

Spring, 2018

Writing A Mystery... Is It A Mystery?

Women's National Book Association / SF Chapter

Summer Profile Interview

Spring, 2018

Click to Read the Interview