1. Molly Coaker

    Molly Coaker New Member

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    Why would a character NOT have an alibi?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Molly Coaker, Jan 5, 2018.

    Hi all,

    I’m putting together a plot line for a book and the only hole in it is one thing - one of the characters does not have an alibi in a murder investigation.

    This will be one of many twists, but can anyone think of reasons why someone would not have an alibi and why they would want to keep that alibi from everyone including the authorities?

    The only thing I’ve thought of so far is that they made a lot of money illegally and don’t want to lose it... but this does not feel strong enough to me.

    I’ve wracked my brains and googled the subject to death. I just cant seem to find any inspiration.

    Creative geniuses, please help!
     
  2. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    They were out doing another crime which they'd go down for - so they rather risk it on the crime where there shouldn't be as any (or as much) evidence against them?

    Do they lack an alibi or are they just reluctant to talk about it? I mean - a lot of people live alone and might not have an alibi, but if it's just that they don't want it known, I'd guess they have something worse to hide.
     
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  3. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    If he's a married man and his alibi is that he was in a hotel room with a hooker, that may be something he may not want to admit to.
     
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  4. Molly Coaker

    Molly Coaker New Member

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    They’re reluctant to talk about it.

    I like the thought of them doing another crime... but is there a crime worse than murder and that will shock/surprise the reader?
     
  5. Paul A.

    Paul A. New Member

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    People keep secrets for a million different reasons.

    A man might not want his partner to know he lost his job and is now working someplace else.

    The person might be seeing a therapist for mental illness and is afraid what others will think of him/her.

    They're a drug addict and they were out to score a bag.

    They were indulging some sort of fetish. Maybe they were at a furry convention and never took their mask off...

    Their car really did stall that night on a back road between towns.

    The person has a child from a previous marriage that they don't want others to know about. They still love the child and want to see them.

    The reason a person keeps a secret does not have to be all that rational. As long as the person believes that discovery will harm/embarrass them, they'll hide whatever it is.
     
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  6. Lemie

    Lemie Contributor Contributor

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    I think it would come down to how likely it is for him to be charged with the murder. If they think they're at risk at getting charged, maybe it would make sense to admit to a robbery, but if the police doesn't seem to have any evidence, maybe it's possible to get away with the robbery and still not get locked up for murder. Robbery is just an example, of course.

    Or the hooker thing. Could always come down to hookers!
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    A lot of people don't have an alibi a lot of the time (if they don't need one) ... If someone wanted to know what I was doing tonight I'd be saying "well officer I was sat in my lounge with my dog writing and posting on forums"

    that would be true for most nights this week - I doubt the police would take Max's word for it (what with him being a dog) , and of course you can post on forums from anywhere
     
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  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Is the issue that you need him to have an alibi that he refuses to use? Because anyone who’s home alone lacks an alibi for that time, unless his home is infested with security cameras.
     
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  9. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've heard even murderers in prison consider pedophiles to be scum, so perhaps that?

    Alternatively, any kind of prolonged kidnap, torture... incest.
     
  10. Vince Higgins

    Vince Higgins Active Member

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    "I was on a sixty mile bike ride, officer"
    "Yeah, you spandex wearing sissies all have those GPS thingies."
    "Not me, I'm old school"
     
  11. Carly Berg

    Carly Berg Contributor Contributor

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    Yup, the suspect was either home alone or alone somewhere else that no one else would be able to verify, or engaged in something they didn't want known, or busy committing the crime.
     
  12. Paul A.

    Paul A. New Member

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    snort... giggle... laugh.
     
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  13. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    You could also just introduce a systemic distrust of police as well. There are plenty of neighborhoods where cops are known to plant drugs, misquote testimonies, and fabricate evidence. An old black man who lived in Alabama in the 60s would likely be distrustful of white police officers even today.
     
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  14. Paul A.

    Paul A. New Member

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    Lieutenant Idoni dumped half a roll of antacids into his hand and threw them into his mouth, chewing the chalky white tablet. “You what?” he half growled.

    Kyle glanced down at his feet. “I was at the Dana-Farber House.”

    Swallowing back the acid that bubbled up in his throat, he rubbed his temples. “The hospice for sick kids? The one over on Elkhorn Ave?”

    Kyle slumped in his chair and nodded silently, "I'm sorry."

    The Lieutenant stood up and clenched his fists. He needed to hit something. His whole case had suddenly gone swirling, and the worst part was he’d wasted the better part of a week on a goddamn boy scout. “Why the hell didn’t you say something in the first place?”

    Kyle shrugged, “I dunno, it just sounds kinda weird. You know, a single guy, wanting to work with kids.

    The cop turned and glared into the two-way glass.“Oh for Christ sake. You spent three days in lock-up because you were—You were embarrassed about helping sick kids?”

    Kyle’s voice could scarcely be heard over the drone of the ventilation fans. “Yeah… I guess. I didn't mean to.”

    The cop threw his weight against the interrogation room door. The bang reverberated down the hall. “Somebody get this asshole out of here!”
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
  15. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    How about an alibi that would get someone they love or care about in trouble? Like the character's alibi is a married woman he's having an affair with, and even though he's single he doesn't want to destroy her family.
     
  16. Mink

    Mink Senior Member

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    Sometimes they just don't have an alibi as well. If I was to ever be investigated for murder when I live alone, I wouldn't be able to show I have an alibi because: 1.) I live alone, 2.) I stay home and rarely go out, and 3.) I have few friends that I don't communicate with on a regular basis.

    Some people just have nights where they don't do much of anything but watch television or read.
     
  17. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    I don't get what you're asking. Not having an alibi could be for a million reasons, besides every one always has an alibi, they often can't prove it is the problem. Having one they do not wish to disclose is very different. So are you saying it's the former and what you're asking what unverifiable alibi did they offer? Or is it the latter?

    Remember the one armed man in the fugitive? Whole series devoted to the one idea.
     
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  18. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale The Caliph of al-Abama Contributor

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    How long after the crime was committed was the suspect brought in for questioning?An old woman was murdered on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 6th, not two blocks from where I live (not really, but go with it.) Now, I have Wednesday afternoons off work, and I'm the wrong color in this neighborhood, so a racist cop brings me in.

    Truth is, I do have Wednesdays off, and I do like to cook those days, but sometimes Mrs. A and I go out instead, which we've done a lot lately, and I've got no fucking idea (or way to check) what I was doing that particular Wednesday afternoon, short of pulling my ISP records to see if I was [REDACTED], which I usually use a VPN and private browsing for anyway.
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose All killer, no filler. Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Indeed most people have lousy alibis most of the time, and the police will look at a perfect alibi with suspicion
     
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  20. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    Three words: "Long Black Veil"
     
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  21. Molly Coaker

    Molly Coaker New Member

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    Hi all,

    Not sure if anyone will read this but I wanted to thank you all for your comments.

    You helped me have my brainwave idea!

    My character’s alibi for the murder of a woman will be that he was actually attempting to murder his girlfriend... and that’s why he’s so secretive about the alibi but adamant he did not commit the other murder. This will work well in my plot line and hopefully have somewhat of a shock factor for readers!

    Thank you so much for all of your recommendations, greatly appreciated.
     

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