Monday, March 30, 2015

The Verdict And The Books That Follow

The verdict in the sordid murder case was handed down three days ago and the printing presses were cranked up, running at full speed to get the first book into the shops while public interest is still hot.

For months, Graham Dwyer was on trial in the murder of Elaine O'Hara. The case had all the elements to captivate the general public: a woman's disappearance, the discovery of her remains months later, and a murder investigation that led to an underground world of kinky sex via online hook-ups, The characters in the drama were intriguing as well, with a well-heeled architect standing accused of murdering a child care worker with some mental health issues.
A guilty verdict, a last chapter written and the book laid down with no time to lose

Mr. Dwyer was found guilty of killing Ms. O'Hara as part of some sick sexual fantasy. Over the course of the trial, the whole sordid story was told from recovered text messages that painted a very disturbing picture.

Who wouldn't want to read all about it, including the bits that didn't make it into the daily newspapers?

Niamh O'Connor is first past the post. Her book is hitting the shops, ready to go, while the trial is still a popular topic.

The crime writer sat through the trial, tweeting and taking notes. She had only to organize those thoughts into paragraphs of more than 140 characters and there was the book that would set the mark for all other books to follow.

Why do we consume these tales? There is the titillation aspect, especially with the Fifty Shades phenomenon playing out in movie theatres. Bondage is supposed to be good, not-so-clean fun, but the relationship between Mr. Dwyer and Ms. O'Hara was nothing like that portrayed in a series of books that were best-sellers.

Are we seeking some insight into Mr. Dwyer's soul? If we could determine why he had a compulsion to kill a woman to achieve sexual climax, maybe we could find some clue that would help the authorities catch another, equally disturbed individual, before they killed some innocent woman who had emotional problems of her own. How could a man who had the intelligence to become a successful architect lead such a thoroughly concealed second life? Were there clues left behind as he played the master to Elaine O'Hara's submissive?

Were there other women gone missing years ago whose disappearance might be linked to Graham Dwyer?

The first book will not be the insightful expose. That sort of story takes some time to research and write. This is the first, the more basic presentation of the facts as heard in the courtroom, with the prosecution painting one picture and the defense painting quite another.

But the first book is the one that sells through when it arrives within days of the verdict. It won't be the Irish version of In Cold Blood. It isn't meant to be. This book is just supposed to sell a lot of copies so the publisher can make as much money as possible.

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