Lance Underphal Mystery Books: Research Notes
Making It Real –
In one of my early forays into manuscript submission I happened upon an article by bestselling author, L. Ron Hubbard entitled Search for Research. Hubbard begins by acknowledging that all writers want to sell and write more and better stories. He proceeds to state that writers are the laziest people on earth, at which I had to laugh. He had my full attention.
In summary Hubbard effectively brought home the point that the best way writers can improve their work and expand their readership is by broadening their sphere of acquaintanceship with the world, its people and professions. In other words, more and better research.
And here I thought all I had to do was make shit up. Ha!
Write About What You Know Best –
Jack London is a well-known example of this practice. And what he didn’t know, he set about finding out. Diving into life with both feet, from the saloons of the Embarcadero to the wilds of Alaska, he experienced life firsthand. His work stands the test of time, all stemming from the most basic of ingredients—research.
Over nearly a lifetime of observation, I’ve come to know what works when it comes to good fiction. Regardless of the medium, believability is a key ingredient. Nothing else will work without what I call the “Reality Factor.” A high degree of reality allows us to accept a story on its merits, rather than questioning whether it’s even possible. I’ve found this to be true across the board, whether it’s mystery, romance, fantasy, horror, or science fiction. Nothing puts me off a tale of fiction faster than unreal or just plain wrong story elements. We’ve all read books and seen movies that are so unbelievable we lose interest. I always invest research into the facts of my stories, doing my level best to solidly establish the “Reality Factor.”
New Data –
While I often resent the amount of time consumed by researching my mystery novels, my efforts are frequently rewarded with new and interesting facts—a bonus I thoroughly enjoy completely aside from the rewards of writing a better story.
5 Facts –
In the first of the mystery series, Dark Side of Sunset Pointe, the financial crises of 2008, also known as the Great Recession, was an underlying source for, and key contributor to, the characters’ behavior. This backdrop carries through in the second book, Flight of the Tarantula Hawk. While having personally experienced it (like most Americans) many of the facts back of its cause were obscure.
John Truman Wolfe, a senior credit officer for two California banks, and co-founder of a prestigious investment advisory firm to wealthy celebrities, shared his research into the causes and effects of the Great Recession in his book, Crises by Design: The Untold Story of the Global Financial Coup and What You Can Do About It.
Wolfe exposes 5 major factors that lead to the global financial crises:
1. Deregulation of the financial services industry. (Wall Street)
2. Federal Reserve Bank policy of artificially low interest rates.
3. Congress’s revision of the Community Reinvestment Act. (Revisions allowed lenders to set aside basic lending criteria such as: adequate down payment amounts, income requirements, and good credit records.)
4. Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. (Passed in 1933 as a result of the Great Depression, Glass-Steagall keep commercial banks out of the investment banking business, in other words “speculation” with depositors’ money.)
5. Waiver of capital requirements. (Reduction of required bank reserves allowed banks to speculate with significantly more of depositors’ money, leading to the boom in subprime lending—toxic assets packaged and sold as investment-grade mortgage-backed securities by inventive investment bankers.)
The main men back of this? As Wolfe describes them: “Rockerfeller/Rothschild homeboy Alan Greenspan” and “Hammering Hank Paulson” a Goldman Sachs crony.
Then came Basel II, the last nail in the coffin.
Basel II is an accounting rule promulgated by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Never heard of it? Think of it as the international central bank for the developed world’s central bankers and you’ll get the idea. As Wolfe so eloquently puts it: “This is the ultra-secret world of the planet’s central bankers and the top of the food chain in international finance.”
The Basel II accounting rule required banks to adjust the value of their marketable securities to their “market price” – known in financial/banking circles as “mark to market.” This in effect, threw gasoline on the flames, fueling a raging bonfire. As they say, the rest is history—the global financial meltdown ensued.
Certainly Wolfe is not the only banking expert to expound on the causes behind the Great Recession. However, after consulting several other sources, I found his work to be thorough, well-documented, succinct, and credible.
Truths are Relative and Based on Agreement—
As always, I recommend we accept nothing as factual without personal investigation.
Your comments are always appreciated.
For more on Michael Allan Scott, the mystery writer and the Lance Underphal mystery series, go to michaelallanscott.com