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grenouille
09-28-2010, 11:49 PM
I posted this question at NaNo forum, but as I included an incorrect fact the discussion seems to take another direction and I'm a bit worried if I will get an answer to my actual question so I'm trying my luck here :)



I've been avoiding this part of plot as long as I could, but now it's really necessary, otherwise I can't complete the outline and plan the ending. The thing is, I know what I want to happen there, but my knowledge of law is very very low, knowledge of police procedures comes from CSI which is A - not always reliable, B - happening in the USA while my book is going on in France



To add, it's happening like 20 years in the future, so I don't mind if the law is not accurate as to what it is now - it can always change a little bit, right?


So, here is what happened: FMC left her boyfriend with MC. He (let's call him Ex) comes back after a while. He tries to convince FMC that MC is manipulating with her, that he's not good for her, that she shouldn't stay away from her family (because her family prefered the Ex) and stuff. She doesn't listen to him, asks him to leave her alone. He tells her "he will save her whether she wants it or not and it doesn't matter what he will have to do". After some time, MC comes home beaten up, when FMC questions him about it, he tells her two guys beat him up, he doesn't know them and didn't see how they looked like.

A, I'm hesitating whether to call the police here, as it would probably help the story. If he had almost nothing to tell them, would they just let it be after a while? What kind of questions would they ask him? Would they, I don't know, require him to go to hospital or something? He doesn't want to make a big fuss about it, so he could maybe convince the FMC that it's nothing serious and just let it be.

Well, then one evening FMC is having her performance (she's a dancer). MC tells her he's not feeling well so she asks if she should stay with him, but he says he will just take something to help him sleep and go to bed. So she leaves him alone at home. When she comes back, she finds the house on fire. She runs in (while the fire is still not so big), wakes the MC up, and they finally get out of the house by jumping into the pool outside from the terrace. Now, police soon finds up someone set the house on fire and FMC tells them she is sure it was her Ex. Tells them what he said to her, why would he want to do it (and possibly add that he might have been the one to hire someone to beat the MC up if he told the police back then), he knew she wouldn't be in the house at the time (who else would want to do it while she wouldn't be home plus he would have access to the chemicals that were used to set the house on fire. I assume the police would then want to talk to the Ex, but... he's nowhere to be found. After some time, the Ex's father comes and accuses MC of murder of his son.

B, If the main suspect was nowhere to be found, what would happen? I think they would assume he's hiding somewhere or that he left the country, so they would start to search for him, but then if they couldn't find him anywhere? They can't close the case without talking to him, can they? But if there are no other suspects?

C, What happens when the Ex's father accuses MC of murder? Would they even listen to him? He has no actual evidence except of that he's convinced even if Ex would hide away from the police, he would let him know. I guess police hates those people who "have feelings that a crime occured". Or would they want to talk to the MC, ask him some questions? If so, what questions? Well, what I want to know is basically how far this could go? Would they open a case or not?

Now, the thing is, the MC really did kill the Ex. So what I'm trying to create is a perfect murder. So, I need you to help me. If there's something I didn't think of, I have to find out. So, question me, try to catch me... something.
Thanks a lot.

ChronicSelfEditor
09-29-2010, 12:28 AM
grenouille... when I get home I'll look up the titles of some books I have that might be of use to you. I can't think of them right now. :(

OneWriter
09-29-2010, 03:34 AM
Don't rely on CSI!!!!! A lot of it is bogus, in many departments CSI's are civilians that do not go around interviewing people, they are not sleuths!
OK, I don't have time to read your whole post, but I was in exactly your place one year ago. The answer? I researched. Google is your best friend. Your local police department is your next stop. Mind you, every agency has its own policies, so be careful to talk to the people in the agency where your novel is set. If it's a fictional place, decide whether it's a city or a small town, as that also makes a difference. Don't rely on TV shows. There are many blogs and internet publications on police procedural and forensic science. It takes some time and patience but you'll get enough knowledge to write your scene.

Rowan
09-29-2010, 04:36 AM
To add, it's happening like 20 years in the future, so I don't mind if the law is not accurate as to what it is now - it can always change a little bit, right? I would have to agree---especially as it's fiction! :)


A, I'm hesitating whether to call the police here, as it would probably help the story. If he had almost nothing to tell them, would they just let it be after a while? What kind of questions would they ask him? Would they, I don't know, require him to go to hospital or something? He doesn't want to make a big fuss about it, so he could maybe convince the FMC that it's nothing serious and just let it be. If vic of assault refuses to press charges and refuses medical treatment, police can't make him go to the hospital. They would ask him where he was, what he saw/remembered, etc. Pretty much what she asked him. They'd also ask if he knew of anyone who wanted to harm him, etc. Police would file a report and at least it'd be on record.

I assume the police would then want to talk to the Ex, but... he's nowhere to be found. After some time, the Ex's father comes and accuses MC of murder of his son. Yes, police would want to talk to the Ex. If he's nowhere to be found and is only a material witness, don't think they can issue an APB or anything (unless it's for questioning; check with RJK or Rugrat on this).

B, If the main suspect was nowhere to be found, what would happen? I think they would assume he's hiding somewhere or that he left the country, so they would start to search for him, but then if they couldn't find him anywhere? They can't close the case without talking to him, can they? But if there are no other suspects? At this point they've got on evidence he committed the crime, right?

C, What happens when the Ex's father accuses MC of murder? Would they even listen to him? He has no actual evidence except of that he's convinced even if Ex would hide away from the police, he would let him know. I guess police hates those people who "have feelings that a crime occured". Or would they want to talk to the MC, ask him some questions? If so, what questions? Well, what I want to know is basically how far this could go? Would they open a case or not? If he has no proof, it's he said/he said, etc. Doubtful they'd open a case---they might ask him about it but in light of other events, sounds like retaliation tactic, etc. (Cops will also see this). :)

Now, the thing is, the MC really did kill the Ex. So what I'm trying to create is a perfect murder. So, I need you to help me. If there's something I didn't think of, I have to find out. So, question me, try to catch me... something.
Thanks a lot.
Did MC stage the beat down and the fire? If so, that's hard to pull off without leaving a trail, especially the fire. Sounds like he set the stage by taking the pills after FMC went off to work. So she'd alibi him, etc. Did he go and murder Ex, set the fire and then let FMC rescue him?

ChronicSelfEditor
09-29-2010, 06:58 AM
grenouille... if you are interested in the book I mentioned earlier, it has apparently changed a bit, but it's essentially the same as what I own. It's part of a series of writer's guides to all kinds of interesting topics for mystery/crime writers.

http://www.amazon.com/Howdunit-Book-Police-Procedure-Investigation/dp/1582974551/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1285728717&sr=8-1-spell
(http://www.amazon.com/Howdunit-Book-Police-Procedure-Investigation/dp/1582974551/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1285728717&sr=8-1-spell)

RJK
09-29-2010, 06:48 PM
You may have a good murder here. It's possible the Ex hired some goons to beat up the MC. Then the MC murders the Ex. and sets fire to the house leaving some sort of evidence that the Ex did it. The police would definitely suspect the Ex and want to talk to him. His absence would make him look guilty in the police's eyes.

The Ex's father could claim what he wants, but without some evidence, the police aren't going to follow up because of:
(Corpus delicti (plural: corpora delicti) (Latin (http://www.absolutewrite.com/wiki/Latin): "body of crime") is a term from Western (http://www.absolutewrite.com/wiki/Western_culture) jurisprudence (http://www.absolutewrite.com/wiki/Jurisprudence) which refers to the principle that it must be proven that a crime has occurred before a person can be convicted of committing the crime (http://www.absolutewrite.com/wiki/Crime).)

Now, if the body turns up, that's a whole nother story. Also, the police will investigate the fire and they may find evidence that the MC (or someone other than the Ex), did it. That will lead to further investigations.

Placing your story 20 years into the future enhances the police's technical and scientific ability to solve the crime by about 100%. Think of all the advances in the last 20 years.

OneWriter
09-30-2010, 06:09 PM
I should've mentioned Rowan and RJK as your best friends right next to Google up there... :)