By Todd Ritter
After reading my first mystery, DEATH NOTICE, my father asked me the question that I knew was coming. “Where on earth,” he said with obvious worry, “did you come up with that?” He was referring to the plot of the book, in which a taxidermy-obsessed killer sends the local newspaper obituaries of his victims — before they’re killed.
I gave him my standard answer about how the main idea came to me while working at a small newspaper, where one of my duties was to type and proofread obituaries. One night, I came upon an obituary that mistakenly listed the deceased’s date of death as being the next day. That was enough to get my imagination running and the rest of DEATH NOTICE grew from there.
I didn’t have the heart to tell my father that he was also one of my biggest inspirations.
No, my dad isn’t a serial killer. In the eyes of woodland creatures, he’s worse. My father, you see, is a taxidermist.