There’s plenty to love in Maria LM Fres-Felix’s new crime anthology Crimetime, a compelling series of mysteries that will keep you guessing, set in Quezon City and starring Inspector SJ Tuason. The blurbs are an indication of its potential: there are words from Charlson Ong, Butch Dalisay, Sarge Lacuesta, and National Artist F. Sionil Jose. I sit down with the author to discuss her favorite crime story, the secret behind a good mystery, and what scares her.
What’s your favorite crime story?
It’s not my favorite but the Lucila Lalu case was imprinted on my mind because it took place when I was very young. It was very gory and they wouldn’t let us read the papers. But when it’s forbidden, you try to eavesdrop among the older people. [Note: Lucila Lalu was considered as the original chop-chop lady. In 1967, parts of her body were found across Metro Manila. The case is still unsolved and her head has yet to be found.]
Are there serial killers in the Philippines?
Favorite serial killer?
For sheer unsolvability, Jack the Ripper.
Favorite crime authors?
What piqued my interest was Nancy Drew. When I grew up, I read Robert Ludlum before he got successful with The Bourne Identity series. I also like the women writers like Denise Mina, Tana French, and of course, Gillian Flynn.
Favorite crime movie?
I don’t know if you could classify it as a crime movie but I liked Clear and Present Danger. I also liked Misery and Shutter Island.
Favorite fictional detective?
Of course Sherlock Holmes, but for the lesser-known ones, I like Carol O’Connell’s Kathy Mallory.
What scares you?
A lot of things scare me!
Is Manila safe?
As safe as any big and unwieldy city can be.
What makes a good mystery?
If the western world has “the butler did it,” who is usually the perpetrator in Filipino crimes?
One truism is, “the spouse did it.”
This post is in partnership with Anvil Publishing. Crimetime is available at National Book Store and Powerbooks branches. You may also buy the book online on Anvil’s website.