Today I registered for a Criminal Justice class called “Investigative Principles” at my local community college. The reason I wanted to take this class was so that my Rachel Christie mystery novels would have more of an air of authenticity about them. I want the reader to know that the methods used in my novels are believable. Any of us can throw together a private investigator or police procedural novel with no knowledge of what it takes to do the job. After all, we have all watched plenty of police shows and CSI shows on television. However, I wanted my books to be more real to life.
I believe the course is already doing me some good because I have already uncovered a major crime: the costs of tuition and books. I had heard that these costs were escalating, but never believed they were going up so fast or so far. For the price of this class, I could have paid for a full-time semester in an engineering curriculum several years ago and that was at an accredited four-year university. This was a community college. I opted for the used textbook for $88 since a new one would have cost around $150. It gives me a better understanding of the sacrifices that many Americans pay to send their children to college today.