The Science of Murder Mystery

KILLING IT: Hendersonville author Kenneth Butcher releases his latest: a murder mystery.

Technically speaking, a hypothesis is a proposed explanation or educated guess that can be tested through experimentation, observation, or research. But really, “it’s just a story,” says Hendersonville resident Kenneth Butcher.

“In a research lab, you generally form a theory about a challenge or problem. Then you devise a way to test your theory,” says Butcher. “Since you’re almost always wrong, you get to change or modify your theory and start over again, and again, and again.”

Considering Butcher’s decades of experience as a materials researcher — a job that required him to invent light-emitting devices using super-luminescence — he’s probably “made up many more stories than the average person.”

He makes up narratives outside of the laboratory, too. That much is evidenced by his recently released novel, The Crossbow Murders, an Asheville Mystery (Wild Rose Press, 2023). 

A classic whodunit, the book opens as a master artist has been slain by a crossbow-toting murderer in Asheville’s River Arts District. Lieutenant Segal and his partner, Walter, jump into action but are soon met with a second homicide.

“Different part of town, different weapon, but none-the-less related to the first. Possible serial killer? The investigation leads Segal’s team through more twists and turns than the mountain roads around the city,” reads the book synopsis.

Toss in a love interest, and you’ve got yourself a page-turner.

“People are often surprised that a person with a technical background would end up writing novels,” says Butcher, who has penned three other books. As the Crow Dies is the sequel to his latest. “But,” he points out, “I think a research lab is the perfect training ground.”

Kenneth Butcher, Hendersonville, The North Carolina Writers Network hosts Butcher as their monthly featured author at The Brandy Bar (504 East 7th Ave., Hendersonville) on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm). The author’s presentation will be followed by a writers’ open mic. For more information, see “The Brandy Bar + Cocktails” on Facebook. (The Crossbow Murders, an Asheville Mystery is available at Malaprop’s in Asheville and can be ordered at Highland Books in Brevard.)

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