My stories to date have never included police, murders, or mysteries, so I wasn't sure if I would come away with anything useful for my writing. However, I was certain I would have some interesting water cooler conversations following the workshop... and it didn't disappoint.
Wow, what a presentation! He did a fantastic job of presenting a disturbing and horrific topic in a way that was respectful, light when appropriate, and informative. He threw out so many juicy details that I filled fifteen pages in my notebook. Actually, all of the attendees seemed to have a curious detachment to the images we saw, which perhaps suggests writers are eager sponges who soak up all kinds of information in case we might need it some day.
I have a lot to mull over after that talk, and I wonder if, after all these details have simmered in the back of my brain for a while, my next story will have something a little more sinister.
A BAKER'S DOZEN: Little Things I Learned at "Dead Men Do Talk":
- People generally have misconceptions about what "murder" is. Murder is violent, messy, smelly and sad.
- Homicide investigation is the search for truth.
- A DNA test could take 40 days (it is sent to Edmonton for testing). DNA is not found in fecal matter or urine.
- Calgary may have had one serial killer, who was never caught.
- Most common method of homicide in Calgary is with a knife.
- Most homicides in Calgary happen in January and August, the least in June.
- Most homicides happen on Saturday, the least on Monday.
- Most homicides happen between 3-4am, the least between 5-6am.
- Psychic evidence happens a lot (in 1 of 5 cases).
- Body identification is rarely done by photo ID.
- Never underestimate threats and threatening phone calls.
- "Locard's Principle" is the theory of transfer. (Professor Edmond Locard, 1877)
- Things don't happen as they do in CSI and other fictional crime shows on TV, which confuses families, jurors and other lay-people.