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Author Topic: In search of the right MacGuffin  (Read 52 times)

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Dan from TX

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In search of the right MacGuffin
« on: October 06, 2017, 10:52:18 AM »

Good day all.
 
Iím a new forum member and dipping my first toe into mystery writing proper. I like the general tone of the discussions Iíve read here and thought this community might help me. A while ago I wrote a story involving a police detective, even though the story itself wasnít strictly what Iíd call a mystery. Anyway, Iíd like to bring the character back for a more traditional locked-room premise.

The problem: Iím stuck brainstorming for a MacGuffin that will work for me. Thereís a crucial piece of evidence my detective needs to find. Itís hidden in a suspectís house, and some trickery will be required in exposing it. (If that sounds a little page-one ďScandal in Bohemia,Ē wellÖ Iím just getting started in the genre. If this story works I pledge to try something more sophisticated.)

Does anyone have suggestions for an item that

1)   Is compact enough to be hidden out of sight without much trouble
2)   Must be kept by the criminal, at least temporarily. In other words despite its incriminating nature, it cannot simply be discarded or destroyed immediately after the crime (letís say murder, but Iím open to other options).

These are the ideal criteria for the story mechanics Iíve got in mind, but Iíve just been stuck awhile on this point. I hope Iíve got the right thread / am using this forum properly. All thoughts, practical and outlandish, will be gratefully entertained. Thanks!
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Old Bill

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Re: In search of the right MacGuffin
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 09:14:20 AM »

Hi Dan and Welcome. Honestly, I had to Google "Scandal..." and MacGuffin [gotta love Ole Hitchcock (I've forgotten more than I ever knew)] but I'm willing to give it a try.

Why keep incriminating evidence? Value or implied value (Maltese Falcon) either monetary or sentimental; thumbdrive/microdot; weapon/instrument that everyone knows you have/use; extortion material still having relevance. Pretty obvious stuff but you've probably already thought of these.

Where to hide in a house...I can think of a gazillion places depending on the size and probably in plain sight. Once was part of a team sent to search a suspect's house...by the time we were through, it looked like it was hit by a tornado (a slight exaggeration...forgive me).

Good luck and looking forward to more from your WIP.

Old Bill

PS: Hope you survived Harvey unscathed.

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Dan from TX

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Re: In search of the right MacGuffin
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2017, 10:35:20 AM »

Thanks! All good fuel for thought. I've just got to make myself narrow down the available options.

P.S. - My family and I came out fine in the hurricane, although we live within a quarter mile of being in real trouble. Feeling very fortunate.
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