Mistaken and false identity aren’t new topics in the mystery fiction realm. One of my favorite authors, Ross Macdonald, often explored the complications that arise over identity issues. Macdonald’s wife, Margaret Millar, based the solution to the mystery in How Like an Angel on mistaken identity, revealed in a stunning twist in the very last line of the book.
Since false or mistaken identity is a great device to use in mystery novels, it occurred to me to combine them in a story about identity theft. Keep in mind, this story was first published before online security and major hacking schemes became such a problem. At the time I wrote the book, few laws existed against identity theft in particular and there was virtually no legal precedent interpreting them.
In order to write the novel, I had to do extensive legal research on what law governed identity theft. To the extent there was no law, I looked up articles on real life examples, to see how they were handled.
Although technology has changed the nature of identity theft dramatically since my book’s initial release, the various characters’ motives and actions are the most important parts of the story.
What I hoped to achieve in writing the story was to combine an old hardboiled mystery device with a new twist. One that would resonate with people today, while paying homage to older pulp fiction conventions.