"DDS 10752 Libra"

written with John Lutz

After 30+ years without ever selling a story to a textbook, suddenly (and simultaneously, and serendipitously) two different publishers approached me in 2000 and bought reprint rights to two of my stories.

Detectives from AMSCO School Publications is for high-school students. The 490-page book is divided into six sections, and my collaboration with John Lutz leads off the second of the six, "Professional Private Eyes at Work." (The other three stories in the section are Susan Dunlap's "Death and Diamonds," George C. Chesbro's "Candala," and Lawrence Block's "Out the Window." William Brittain's "The Man Who Read John Dickson Carr," which shared a cluster with my "Invitation to a Murder" in my other Y2K textbook sale — to Perfection Learning's Mysterious Circumstances —is in the final section of Detectives. Bill's is the only story to appear in both books, and he and I are two of the only four authors to make both volumes . . . the other pair being Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!)

On each of the last seven of the story's 10 pages, a gray sidebar box headed Suspicions poses questions for the reader to consider. One example: "Sometimes in detective stories the absence of something that should be present is a more significant clue than the presence of something that shouldn't be there. Which important item seems to be missing from the scene of the crime?"

Then, at the story's end, there are two supplementary sections. In "How Clever?," an additional four questions are asked. Then, in DetectWrite, suggestions regarding characterization are offered, to help students towards writing a story of their own. If you're interested, you can find all of the supplementary material here.

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