When I was learning to write — well, I still am — I devoured books on writing and editing. But the one I went back to over and over was Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America, ed. by Sue Grafton with Jan Burke and Barry Zeman (Writer’s Digest Books, 2002).
And now there’s a new reliable: How to Write a Mystery: A Handbook by Mystery Writers of America , ed. by Lee Child with Laurie R. King (April 27, Scribner). If you write mystery or crime fiction, in any subgenre, you need this book. I can say that because I contributed and I have actually seen the full ms. It’s out today. See the full list of topics and contributors on the MWA page, where you’ll also find links to the major retailers. Or ask your local indie.
The moment you have it in your hands, you’ll be smarter already. Pinkie swear.