If a member of your night class were murdering classmates, wouldn't you find something better to do those evenings? So would I, but thankfully the members of the writing class in Jincy Willett's The Writing Class keep coming back for more.
That's just one of the things about the novel that don't quite add up, but I don't think a realistic murder mystery was Willett's objective in her 2008 novel. It is more a satire on writing classes, literary aspirations and even murder mysteries themselves.
Amy Gallup is a novelist, or former novelist, whose books are out of print and whose literary career, like her personal life, lies in ruins. To support herself and her dog, she teaches a writing class for adults, most of whom have little or no talent but who pay the fees, so they're in. Just wanting to be a writer is good enough for Amy. That's more ambition than she has anymore.
Even early on it is clear some member of her new class has a screw loose. Ominous phone messages, notes, etc., keep appearing as the weeks go on. Then one class member is found dead, then another. The police don't take it seriously. (Since Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, police incompetence has been more rule than exception in murder mysteries.) Since her class refuses to disband (and she needs the money), Amy realizes it is up to her to find the Sniper, as the killer is dubbed.
The Writing Class, sometimes interesting and sometimes not, doesn't earn an A, but it is good enough to make you glad you kept coming back for more.