Thursday, 13 August 2015

Mystery madness

For years I've struggled with finding a robust mechanism to make it possible to download ebooks from my website. Finally I've got something working*, and to celebrate this (and help parents get through the school holidays), I've reduced my ebook Organizing a Murder from £9.99 to £2.99 until the end of August.

This all started many years ago when I helped run a youth group. One of my contributions was to script mystery evenings where the young people had to solve murders or undertake treasure hunts. There were those 'murder mystery party' kits you could buy, but they were very expensive, and they involved role play for a specific number of players. I needed something without the complexity of role play and that could be played as an individual or teams.

Some of the mysteries/treasure hunts have found their way into this ebook - others were written specially for it. It was a pleasure to put together - very different from writing popular science.

There's a whole range in there (12 in all), some suitable for kids, others requiring adult levels of working out. They've been used in parties, dinner parties, team building exercises for business or just to kill a couple of hours when the kids are getting irritating. I've never been able to put the ebook on Kindle, because a requirement is that you can print out the pages, as there are clues, evidence and all sorts of bits and pieces in each mystery which are distributed around the location before the event to give a treasure hunt aspect, as well as the usual deduction.

You can find Organizing a Murder here on my newly expanded 'fiction' section on my website. These are some comments I've had from people who've bought it:

  • ”This is a great book! I've used it to organise several kids parties and they loved it!” - Katherine Kelly, author of Red Rock
  • "Plenty of choice, great to keep everyone occupied - thanks very much."
  • "Great product!"
  • "Fantastically clearly set out and very easy to absorb. I'm really getting ahead with [the party] now, thanks to you!"
  • "Many thanks - delighted!"
  • "Wonderful, entertaining product."
  • "Easy to use, great resource for all ages."
  • "Wonderful book - many great ideas."
* For those technically inclined who want to know how I'm doing it, my website is built with RapidWeaver. I was already using the PaySnap stack for taking payments, but I've added the RapidLink plugin which handles the downloads. Getting them to work together isn't documented, but is straightforward.


  1. A year or so ago, I looked (only tentatively) into the possibility of including a bespoke dedication in downloadable ebooks. I'm sure it's possible, but the web-server processing required to generate ebooks on the fly seemed rather heavy (as did the coding!).

    1. I imagine it would! I'm only doing standard download management - e-merchandising 101 - here, but in a DIY fashion.