image courtesy of GDJ via

Why do the murder victims in the Nautical Namaste series (or any book) get killed?

The strongest reasons are often money, sex, love, greed, anger, fear.

I’m not talking about serial killers or thrill killers, who have other reasons. I’m talking about murderers who strike out for specific reasons.

In SAVASANA AT SEA, the first murder victim, the catalyst to the chain of events into which Sophie is embroiled, well, let’s just say it’s not a surprise that individual was murdered. The person kept a whole group of people in fear and unhappiness. Sooner or later, someone was bound to lash out. The next two murders are more tragic, at least in my opinion, because they were done out of escalation. Instead of the first murder ending the murderer’s fear and frustration, it increased.

There are studies (and it’s a trope in mysteries) that the first murder is the hardest, and each one gets easier. SAVASANA AT SEA’S first murder is not the murderer’s first kill; but that will be different in other books in the series.

How each murder changes the murderer’s personality, frame of reference, and justifications is one of the things that interests me in the books. What makes someone choose to end another’s life instead of finding another way to alleviate the threat posed by the murder victim is interesting, and, hopefully, in each case, different. If it was the same reason over and over and over again, that would get dull.

People are different, and how they react to stressful and frightening stimuli is different. That difference and complexity is interesting.

There’s also a difference in a murder committed in a fit of anger, and one that’s planned.

What drives the various murderers in the series to make the choices they make is as interesting to me as what drives Sophie to unravel them.

While her motive, at times, is about saving her own life, it also runs deeper. It goes back to Sophie being someone who walks her talk. She’s trying to live a life of compassion and humanity. The situation of living and working on the ship offer multiple challenges to this every day. Add murder to the mix, and it raises the stakes for her.

Plenty of people would be intimidated into not following through the investigation until the murderer (or murderers) are discovered and brought to justice. Sophie couldn’t live with herself if she let that fear allow a murderer victory. It’s one of the reasons that mysteries speak to us so strongly. A good protagonist is always smarter, more resourceful, and more determined than we are.


Interested in the Nautical Namaste series? You can find out more here.