rita ackerman

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Learn True CSI


A couple of weeks ago I attended the spring workshop for Desert Sleuth’s Mystery Writer’s Club.

I’ve attended these before and they are always great; and Free!


It was a windy, rainy, chilly day. Perfect to stay inside and learn about writing mysteries.

The event is always held at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona.

It is a beautiful library with gorgeous surroundings.


I love the sculpture hanging over the entry.


 There were six sessions so I’m going to share a few fun and helpful things I picked up over the day.

The first speaker was Detective Tim Moore who told us how to work a crime scene.

One of his pet peeve’s with the CSI shows is that they never wear booties and seldom wear gloves. He said to never have your fictional detective pick anything up with a handkerchief or pick up a gun by sticking a pen or pencil in the muzzle. There goes your evidence. He stressed the need for always getting everything and protect the chain of command. Use a digital recorder and camera to record everything. It was all quite interesting and more than an author would want to use in a scene but by knowing how to do a scene correctly the author will be able to present the aspects he needs for the story in an accurate manner.

The scene is described from the overall boundaries  of street signs, houses and other landmarks. Then medium views and then down to the close=ups. This would be a good way to describe a scene in a book also.

Det. Moore then led us to another room where he had set up a crime scene for us to analyze with the information he had just provided.


 As the day went on we were able to return to the “scene” as he added placards.

It was interesting that these placards always face north. When sketches are made the point of view is always straight down.


Something many authors forget is to use all five senses. He stressed that this is also important at a crime scene. Are there lingering scents of perfume, gunpowder, blood, smoke?

One of the things stressed throughout the day was “you better get it right.” Readers are more informed than ever and if you, the author, makes a mistake they will call you one it and your credibility will be questioned.

To be continued.



  1. I love that feather sculpture as well! Can’t wait to hear more …

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