Ye Olde Razzle Dazzle



We value entertainment more than anything else in this crazy world, don’t we? Can there be any doubt when musicians, comedians, and sports figures earn ten times as much as learned scientists, teachers, ordained ministers and doctors?
Or when entertainers are elected Presidents of the United States?
Best-selling authors on a keynote panel with me at Magna cum Murder in Indianapolis asked me to name which of my stories and novels I considered most entertaining. I had to think hard to name even one. I’ve never thought of myself as an entertainer. I write cautionary tales intended to help people survive when their worst nightmares prove real. I want my stories to be fascinating, not necessarily entertaining.

My friends on the panel write wonderfully entertaining tales, often with an undercurrent of humor, to help people escape reality.

That’s why they’re best-selling authors and I’m not.

I must admit I do enjoy their writing, even appreciate their humor. I buy all their books.
Highlights of that conference included dog and pony shows, including a bastardized version of Hollywood Squares and deliberately humorous interviews with Guests of Honor. I’ve witnessed similar humorous interviews at Thrillerfest. They’re pure entertainment and lots of fun. They attract huge crowds.

They take our minds off more serious pursuits and help us pass the time. They’re always better attended than any of the panels. I go to as many as I can. Sometimes, I even laugh at the brilliant performances.

Granted, I’m generally much too serious for my own good. My daughter claims I often sound like a professor giving a lecture. I need to loosen up a little, clown around some.
Except I hate clowns. Clowns have orange hair and are pure evil.

In any murder mystery that includes a butler and a clown, I know from the very beginning which is the culprit.

Yet we humans are attracted by razzle-dazzle like bears to honey. We love to be entertained.

We barely notice when we’re badly stung by bees.