Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

Missing Persons

with 2 comments

So, the new book has finally calmed down, as I think of it–it finally feels like a book.  I often have to write entire first drafts and starting cutting into the final before it does that, and the last book didn’t do it at all until I rewrote it from scratch.

But this one has, and I wonder how much of it has to do with the fact that my inspiration for it was a real case, right here. 

I want to stress inspiration–I’m not writing a novelized version of the real case, which hasn’t been solved and which has a number of convoluted elements to it.  The elements are so convoluted, that several of the true-crime shows on television have taken up the case, and the FBI finally got involved a week or so ago.

My book is a lot simpler, the FBI couldn’t care less, and the general people are different. 

But  the case is interesting. 

It concerns a guy named Billy Smolinski, and there’s a web site here


meant to give an overview of the case and to help in the search. 

And there’s a local newspaper article here


from the alternative, rather than the standard, publication in the immediate area.

I’ve got no idea how this is going to work out.  There are a lot of elements to it that would make it perfect murder mystery material, but I’m used to seeing those on the news and having the whole thing end up as just another drug deal gone bad.

On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be any indication that this guy was into drugs.


Okay, it’s a rainy Tuesday, Matt is stuck in Philly until Saturday, and I’ve got my head in my book…

Written by janeh

May 18th, 2010 at 7:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses to 'Missing Persons'

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  1. Hmmm. In a murder mystery, I’d bet on no murder at all. Billy will have walked into his other life. It’s possible in real life. He’d only turn up if (a) they have his fingerprints and DNA on file, and (b) something goes wrong with the new life, causing someone to check those fingerprints or DNA.

    Real life, I don’t know what the odds are by this time. Probably not good. But I bet if anything does surface, you’ll also get a very different life of Billy. This one feels incomplete in a major way.


    18 May 10 at 4:10 pm

  2. Mmm, yes, I had the feeling something was missing, too – maybe nothing more than a minor history of making threatening phone calls; maybe something more. I’d bet on suicide or murder – not taking or spending money is a big sign of something seriously wrong. I knew a family whose missing adult son was assumed to have fled to the Mainland of Canada for some very good reasons – but no money was taken or used. A relative found his body a year later. Suicide.

    This long after the disappearance, I’d bet nothing will turn up unless someone talks.


    18 May 10 at 5:12 pm

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