Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Tax Season Is Terrific for Murder

Please welcome my Wednesday guest, D. R. Ransdell, author of Mariachi Murder and the upcoming Island Casualty. A native of Illinois who opted for warmer winters in Arizona, she bases many of her novels on her own experiences and travels. For example, she actually played violin in a mariachi band. Read about her adventures at  I guess we’ll have to wait a while for the novel inspired by tax season, but her thoughts on it will give you a chuckle…and maybe some ideas.


To write murder mysteries, you need victims. On an everyday basis, sometimes I find these in the form of ex-boyfriends. Sometimes I borrow bad bosses from my friends. But in the tax season, I don’t need any help. I can find plenty of murder victims all by myself.

This year was a case in point. My taxes got me so flummoxed that I was ready to kill Turbo Tax and anybody else in sight. I was especially ready to kill the creator of the K-1 Corporation. The paperwork required to successfully create a K-1 is denser than a dissertation. There couldn’t be any easier way?

While I was working on my taxes, I started procrastinating. I started thinking of all the different ways I could use my tax woes inside my novels. I could easily kill off an evil supervisor who didn’t send a tax form in time, an accountant who purposefully made mistakes, a banker who “mislaid” papers, and a postal worker who accidentally on purpose lost returns on the way back to the mail truck. And that’s just for starters!

Some mystery writers use reprehensible serial killers and other miscreants, but in my own mysteries, I find more horror in the ordinary, everyday detail. Almost everybody has to pay taxes, so murdering off a tax consultant is something that many readers can relate to. Those of us who are normally mild mannered entertain wild fantasies of robbing banks to pay unexpected tax fees. We imagine spying on procrastinators as they race to the post office on the evening of April 15th. We can imagine auditors who come to our houses never to be seen again.

In short, the tax season is useful. While I find it painful to figure out and pay taxes, it’s always best to look on the bright side of things. As a writer, I can turn routine problems into material for writing. Thus instead of complaining bitterly about doing my taxes, I’ll plot my next story about someone too cheap to pay to have taxes done or somehow who goes crazy when the electronic tax program says “error, please check line 24” for the nine-hundredth time.

Some of my fans ask how I come up with so many ideas for my murder mysteries. The truth is that I have plenty of ideas. The only problem is that during tax season, I don’t have any time for writing!

Please read about MARIACHI MURDER and the upcoming ISLAND CASUALTY at




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