Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

Motivation for Murder

Happy Week before Halloween. I’ve got a morbid and disturbing post for your reading pleasure today but

First: the News


Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is on sale for the ridiculous price of 99 Cents until November 3. GRAB IT NOW BECAUSE BOOK 2 WILL BE OUT SOON.


I’ve been blogging around this month. Here are links to massively entertaining posts.



Even Scottish Vampires Fall in Love

Frankenstein Characters

13 for Thursday


Three Zoraida Grey stories are finished and nearly ready to distribute FOR FREE. Look for an Email blast soon. Sign up for my newsletter so you won’t miss it.

Let’s talk about murder and the motives thereof,

shall we?

Love, lust, lucre, and loathing—These 4 motives would seem to cover a multitude of sins, right? Turns there are as many variations on the theme as there are murderers. Author John LesCroart boiled these variations down to 14.

As I contemplate a new book, I’m looking for motives that ring true. Do you have a favorite? What might drive you to add just a soupçon of arsenic to the scones?

Motives for Murder:
(love, lust, lucre, and loathing)

  • To keep a secret
  • Revenge
  • Frustration/hate
  • Money/Greed
  • Sex/Jealousy
  • Property Dispute
  • Personal Vendetta
  • Political
  • Class Conflict
  • Narcotics
  • Other Felonies
  • Urge to Protect

While my little murder will be solved in eighty-thousand words or less, real life murderers stray from the safe world of literary murders. If you’re up for a macabre study, here are a few motives of real life murderers to brighten your day.

Woman, Mystery, Suspense, Hidden, Smoke

  • Ted Bundy killed more than 20 young women between the years of 1974 and 1978. He was executed in Florida in 1989.
    • “I haven’t blocked out the past. I wouldn’t trade the person I am, or what I’ve done – or the people I’ve known – for anything. So I do think about it. And at times it’s a rather mellow trip to lay back and remember. I just liked to kill, I wanted to kill. I want to master life and death.” Ted Bundy
  • The Zodiac Killer operated in norther California during the late 60s and early 70s. This killer was never caught and is responsible for at least 7 deaths.
    • “I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of them all.” Zodiac Killer in one of the letters he sent to taunt the police.
    • The Zodiac Killer is also responsible for one of the best excuses for not finishing a research paper I ever heard. A high school student who was researching the Zodiac Killer (yes, I was that teacher—the one who gave weird assignments) came to me one day during my office hours and told me he needed to change his topic. I was surprised because he had been researching steadily and, for once, had turned in all the precursor work on time and in good order. When I asked why, he became a little uncomfortable. “Turns out my dad was in northern California at that time and I can’t eliminate him as a suspect. He doesn’t have an alibi for any of the murders and when I ask him about it, he told me to mind my own business.” I allowed him to change his topic for the assignment to another serial killer and we both agreed we should never speak of this again.
  • Carl Panzram claimed to have committed over 20 murders and was executed in 1930.
    • “I have no conscience so that does not worry me. I don’t believe in man, God nor the Devil. I hate the whole damned human race including myself.”
  • Herbert Mullin killed thirteen people in California in the early 1970s. He confessed to the killings, which he claimed prevented earthquakes. He is currently serving a life sentence.
    • Satan gets into people and makes them do things they don’t want to.”
  • Jane Toppan nicknamed “Jolly Jane” confessed to 31 murders. She was determined  criminally insane and died in an asylum in 1938.
    • “That is my ambition, to have killed more people – more helpless people – than any man or woman who has ever lived.”
  • In 1979, 16-year-old Brenda Spencer killed two adults, and wounded 8 children and one police officer at an elementary school, later saying, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.”


  • John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan in 1981 so he could get actress Jodie Foster’s attention.


  • Fergus Glen was mad that his brother didn’t thank him for making dinner, so he used an axe to hack him to death in 2003. The siblings didn’t get along very well, so that small perceived insult was apparently the last straw for the 36-year-old killer.


  • Tan Teck Soon pushed his girlfriend off a 12-story building over an argument about chopsticks and then jumped after her. He thought she was about to break up with him and that they should die together. Trouble is he survived and she did not.


  • Dennis Nilsen is one of Great Britain’s most prolific serial killers. He is also one of the most enigmatic. Between 1978 and 1983, Nilsen took 15 different men out on nice dates in which he treated them kindly and then murdered them. Similar to America’s Jeffrey Dahmer, loneliness was the motive.