Bahamas West End Is Murder

Un libro in lingua di Dirk Wyle edito da Rainbow Books, 2005

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AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRK WYLE Rainbow Dirk, we have decided to add some pages to your fifth book in the Ben Candidi Series to give you an opportunity to answer questions on your work. Your first book in the Series, Pharmacology Is Murder published in 1998, validated all of Rainbow's highest expectations, receiving marvelous reviews on a national level. Your subsequent books have shown that you can sustain your high standards and continue to garner high-level reviews. How many Ben Candidi adventures do you think you can produce? Wyle Twenty-one is my desired number. That is the number of Travis McGee novels produced by John D. MacDonald, one of my literary influences and a kindred spirit. Twenty-one is also the number of amino acids necessary for human life.Rainbow Will you have enough time? Wyle I have written the first five books in seven years. I'm 59 years old now. According to the actuarial tables, I should be able to write another 16 books.Rainbow Do you have that many Ben Candidi stories in your head? Wyle Biomedical science generates a host of important projects that can serve as starting points for Ben's mystery-adventures. And let's not forget the contributions of Rebecca Levis (M.D.), Ben's lifetime partner. Her passion for world health broadens Ben's horizons to include the whole world. Witness Amazon Gold, fourth in the Series. It was Rebecca's work with the Yanomama Indians that set the story in motion.Rainbow Are you guaranteeing that Rebecca will be Ben's lifetime partner? Wyle Yes.Rainbow Will they fight, separate, fall prey to drugs or alcohol, and come back together like so many “significant others” in detective fiction? Wyle No, I consider such unromantic subplots to be a failure of imagination on the part of the author. In my opinion, the stale-coffee-and-stinking-cigarette-butt, workaholic, my-spouse-doesn't-understand-me stereotype has dominated detective fiction for much too long. At a national mystery conference that I recently attended, the discussants were still fueling the paradigm that the hero must be flawed and that society numbs the soul. I prefer a more optimistic mindset in my protagonists — at least at the beginning and end of the story. I see no reason to drag readers over cowpats of personal woe. The reader has worked hard for the hour that he or she can spend with me. They deserve better from me.Rainbow Are you saying that Ben and Rebecca are perfectly adjusted? Wyle Ben thinks that Rebecca is a “15.” She has found love with him that is deeper than anything she has experienced before. Their love is strong. But a healthy love is never static. Problems will keep rolling their way. They will continue to be challenged to use imagination, intellect and commitment to work things out. For example, we already know that Rebecca would like Ben to establish himself in a defined career. Ben, on the other hand, seems more inclined to follow the opportunities that present themselves. A constant problem, of which Ben doesn't seem to be aware, is his roving eye. That has gotten him into trouble or misunderstandings in four of his five adventures. Rebecca seems resistant to inappropriate male attention, but a world health mission in another part of the world might prove a more serious seduction. The relationship parts of the stories deal with their attempts to stay tuned in to each other's special qualities. Their “vacation” together in Bahamas West End Is Murder has shown that they can amuse each other with both humor and philosophical shtick. That bodes well for a long-term relationship.Rainbow How did you research Bahamas West End Is Murder? Wyle We sailed from Miami to Grand Bahama Island and then to the Abacos on our Gizmo II several years ago. An observation of a certain watercraft doing a strange thing gave me the idea for the central crime in the book. A couple of summers ago, with the book half-written, we sailed back and spent several days at the marina in West End. We sallied forth on bicycle to meet local people and to pin down geographic detail. We also zipped along the shoreline and over the sponge flats and coral reefs with the hard-bottomed inflatable. Being a novelist is a good excuse to do such things. Seeing with a scientist's eyes adds to the sense of mission. Interestingly, the West End marina and its basin had undergone a radical make-over between our two visits. That fit well with the story where the boaters were worrying about the marina becoming gentrified and expensive. My fictitious boaters were more like the old crowd.Rainbow You are not retracting your disclaimer that any similarity of characters in the story to real people is completely coincidental, are you? Wyle No, the disclaimer stands. And I stand by my claim, made privately, that boating brings out the oddball in people.Rainbow Do you care to elaborate? Wyle Sure. Take a look at the fish fry scene in chapter six of this book.Rainbow What other sorts of field research are you doing for the Series? Wyle We had an interesting time on the Amazon and in the rain forest for Amazon Gold. In two weeks we are going down to Campeche in the Yucatan, guided by fellow author Steve Glassman (Near Death Experiment) to take in Mayan pyramids and local culture. Now it seems that friends are volunteering to do research for me. In the middle of a month-long trek in India, Doug Beckman sent me a postcard that read like the back cover synopsis of a Ben & Rebecca adventure on the subcontinent.Rainbow What kind of research are you doing for the sixth book in the Series? Wyle I am investigating a venue that is quite close to home but is a lot flashier than Bryan Medical School.Rainbow A Publishers Weekly review said that your novels are “pleasing for both their intrigue and for their intellect.” We agree. How do you manage that? Wyle I worked for over 30 years as a biomedical scientist testing complicated schemes and asking the question, “What molecule does what to what other molecule, and which molecule gets zapped for it?” Such mechanistic experience comes in handy for analyzing and constructing plots of murder mysteries. But I admit to spending several years of weekends and evenings learning the rules of fiction. Regarding appeal to the intellect, mindset that tunes in to background, undercurrent and the character traits will tend to do that.Rainbow Are your stories manifestly intellectual? Wyle I hope not. Certainly not self-consciously intellectual, as is the case with a lot of mainstream fiction. It is best for the intellectual energy generated in the story be emitted as overtones that resonate but do not obscure the melody. My primary goal is to tell a good story.Rainbow But Ben is an intellectual, isn't he? Wyle Not when he's getting a ragging and ribbing from Sam and Lou at Captain Walley's waterfront bar. Also, he spends a lot of time with unpretentious people, encouraging them to sing their song, so to speak. He is fluent in Spanish and used to hang out in the Little Havana section of Miami.Rainbow Are you fluent in Spanish like Ben? Wyle No, I'm sorry to say. I read and understand Spanish pretty well, but I have a long way to go toward fluency. But I am fluent in German for having studied it and lived there four years.Rainbow Are you going to send Ben and Rebecca to Germany? Wyle I've given that a lot of thought but haven't been able to come up with an interesting plot. Foreign stories would seem to require a more exotic location.Rainbow But a Klaus-Dietrich Grünhagen plays a role in Amazon Gold.Wyle Yes, he is the German pilot who owns “Amazon Touristic” and flies an amphibious airplane around the Rio Negro. As Ben commented, the guy had a Teutonic spirit that was too strong to be beaten down by the pedagogues of the Latin school. Klaus-Dietrich wouldn't let anyone box him into a narrow social category. Klaus-Dietrich is the type of strand that I enjoy weaving into my stories.Rainbow What can you tell us about reader response? Wyle I receive lots of e-mails and they are a joy to answer. Some are from biomedical scientists who are pleased to see their profession depicted realistically. Many are from mystery fans with comments on the plot. A growing number are mainstream readers who just like the story. My work has been used in conjunction with college courses. In addition to doing live readings and discussions, I enjoy doing speaker phone discussions with book groups. My website lists some discussion points for each book, organized according to type of group.Rainbow Thank you very much, Dirk. To close this interview, could you tell us your website? Wyle Yes. It is www.dirk-wyle.com. My e-mail is dirk@dirk-wyle.com. Dear Readers, I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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