I’ve had an article opened and minimized on my computer desktop for a few days now. Today, with a quiet moment and mind, I finally took the time to read it.
The article was featured in The Guardian and tells the story of, “The murder that obsessed Italy.” It makes sense that it reads as layered and descriptively rich as a novel; the journalist who wrote it, Tobias Jones, is also a novelist.
When I came upon this article, I was first drawn to it because it mentioned Italy…a place close to my heart…and more specifically, Bergamo…a city I have visited and from where my grandmother’s father originated. Bergamo has been an Italian city of import since the time of the Romans, and La Città Alta, or upper city, is quite serene and beautiful. As I read the article, which tells of the disappearance and murder of a local 13 year-old girl and the almost four-year hunt for her murderer, I was intrigued by the character of the policewoman who headed the case and the many, twisted paths her investigation took. I have included a link to the article below for anyone interested in reading it.
There is no denying that this young girl’s murder is a tragedy…ending her life, affecting many families, and haunting a community. While the murderer has finally, after countless hours of investigation, DNA testing, and fruitless leads, been apprehended, there is still a trial ahead and there may never be resolution for the families involved. I think of all this when I read an article like the one written by Tobias Jones, but I also think of creative writing…both because of the quality of the writing and the subject matter.
I’m a writer, and at my heart, a mystery writer. I set that article aside to read, not simply to catch up on what is happening in Bergamo, but because the story captivated me, both as a reader and a writer. As a writer, I saw a means to better understand police procedures and the intricacies of a long-term investigation, and more importantly, a wealth of material for a future story…not necessarily set in Italy or about a young girl…but featuring elements and characters from the complicated case. Even as I write this, I know it will seem heartless to some people. The truth is, an artist is always looking for inspiration in the world around them. For a mystery writer, this often comes in the form of articles about real life crimes. The news is a painful treasure trove of stories. For anyone familiar with the creative process, this will come as no surprise…for anyone like me, it will make perfect sense.