Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: Creative Writing...or Murder Mystery - You Decide!

Travel Writing
By Peter Ferry
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780151014361
294 Pages

When I realized that Peter Ferry, the author of Travel Writing, was also the "narrator" or lead character in his book, I was intrigued. An interesting choice for a brave writer, don't you think? And yet, the author, who is a teacher, writer and editor, is playing a teacher of high school English--so why not?

I admit to a little confusion at the beginning, but then I realized that even that was obviously intentional. The novel starts in the classroom where Peter Ferry is teaching about writing fiction, creative writing. He tells a story to his students but immediately explains that it is fiction, it is not true, although he keeps telling the story and soon has his students so involved that they begin to ask questions about it. Is the story really true, perhaps readers will never really know for sure--and that is part of the mystery presented.

Pete Ferry tells about a young woman who was killed in a one-car crash when she drove into and hit a lamppost. Pete had been at the scene of the accident; indeed, he felt that he should have done something to prevent it! He had only caught a glimpse of her beautiful face; her name was Lisa Kim.

Within his guilt, he felt a need to attend the woman's funeral. Not wanting to explain who and how he knew Lisa, he found himself confused by her family with a man she apparently was in love with, assumed to be named Peter also. Based upon that assumption, the family sent a letter they had found, written by Lisa, but never mailed. The salutation was to "P," and professed her deep love!

Of course, Pete Ferry felt compelled to discover who P was and deliver this letter. He also discovered that he had somehow fallen in love with her! Or obsessed! Either way, his live-in was not happy and immediately assumed that Pete had been having an affair with her, although he had, of course, never met her!

But was the search actually that of looking for the man who had murdered Lisa? For she had dropped off a man shortly before she had gone off the road.

Pete discovered that Lisa had been drugged and also later found that she had been seeing a psychiatrist. Soooo, Pete became his patient!

Travel Writing is fun to read! Pete moves from teaching activities, to mystery solving, to travel writing assignments, while at the same time, closing out one love relationship and starting another!

But does he solve the murder mystery? You know, the murder of Lisa Kim, that he was creating and telling his students about during that writing class. Well, all I can say is that the result of all of this is--the book called Travel Writing by Peter Ferry, with the lead character, Pete Ferry, who is great, by the way!

I highly recommend you enter the maze created in this one!

G. A. Bixler

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