“Vengeance to Show in the Third,” my first appearance in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine (October 1983), was heavily influenced by reading a great many Dick Francis novels, and I was clearly trying to write an American Dick Francis story. At the time I wrote the story, I lived in southern Illinois, near a racetrack where I placed several losing bets, but I had a personal connection as well. My first wife grew up riding English and, through connections made in that environment, knew people who owned race horses, and she briefly worked as a groom.
In a way, that describes how I do a fair bit of my research: use personal connections. If I don’t have the necessary personal experience and I can’t find what I need with an Internet search, I reach out to friends and family. Additionally, other writers are a great resource, and I have tapped them for information about Catholicism, the odor of a fired handgun, and the like.