Category Archives: Jill Edmondson

I Need to Know*

WaitingIt’s devastating to hear the news that a loved one has died. Any crime fiction novel that doesn’t acknowledge that is, at least in my opinion, not portraying loss realistically. That said though, it’s possibly even harder when a loved one is missing. Not knowing whether that person is dead or alive takes a tremendous toll. You can’t start the grieving process really, because the missing person could still be alive. On the other hand, after a certain point, it’s hard to hold out hope. It’s a sort of ‘twilight zone’ and it is awful. Just a quick look at a few crime fiction novels should be enough to show you what I mean.

Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express is the story of the stabbing death of American businessman Samuel Ratchett. He’s en route across Europe on the Orient Express when the murder occurs, and the only possible suspects are the other passengers on the same coach. Hercule Poirot is on the same train, so he investigates Ratchett’s death. One of the pieces of evidence refers to another case: the kidnapping of three-year-old Daisy Armstrong. She was the daughter of wealthy and loving parents, and her abduction took a terrible toll on her family. Part of that toll was waiting to hear from the kidnappers, and not knowing whether she was safe.

Dr. Raymond Akande and his wife Laurette go through a horrible experience of waiting in Ruth Rendell’s Simisola. Their twenty-two-year-old daughter Melanie goes to the local Employment Bureau one afternoon to keep an appointment with a job counselor there. When she doesn’t return, Akande gets concerned and asks Inspector Wexford, who is one of his patients, to look into the matter. At first Wexford isn’t overly concerned. Melanie is an adult and it’s not unreasonable that she’d have gone off for a few days without necessarily telling her parents. But when more time goes by, Wexford begins to wonder what’s happened to her and an official investigation begins. Melanie’s last known contact was Annette Bystock, an employment counselor. When Bystock herself is killed, it’s clear that something may be going on at the Employment Bureau. In the meantime, the Akandes are very anxious for any news, and Wexford is uncomfortable that he can’t give them any real information. Then, a body is found in a local wood, and Wexford thinks it might be Melanie’s. It’s not though, and we can see the Akandes’ anger at the mistaken identity. Some of that anger comes from the fact that they still do not have answers. In the end, Wexford and his team put the case together, but throughout the novel, he feels guilty about what the Akandes are suffering as they wait for the truth about Melanie.

DCI Harry Nelson has a similar burden in Elly Griffiths’ The Crossing Places. Ten years ago, Lucy Downing went missing. Nelson and his team have never been able to find out what happened to her. He’s never even been able to give her parents the admittedly ice-cold consolation of closure. Then, the skeleton of a young girl is discovered in a remote area of Norfolk called the Saltmarsh. Nelson doesn’t know how old the bones are, or whether they might be Lucy’s remains, so he gets help from an expert Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist at North Norfolk University. She determines the bones are much, much older – probably from the Iron Age. On the one hand, it’s exciting news for Galloway in that it opens up a promising site for a dig. On the other, Nelson is left with no new answers. Then he begins to get anonymous, cryptic letters that make a veiled reference to Scarlet Henderson, another young girl who’s gone missing recently. Nelson contacts Galloway again to see if she can help him make sense of the letters. In the end, Nelson does find out what happened both to Scarlet and to Lucy. And Griffiths shows what it’s like for families who are waiting for news – any news – about their loved ones.

One plot thread of Arnaldur Indriðason’s Hypothermia concerns a young man Davíd, who went missing thirty years earlier. Inspector Erlendur was one of the investigators, and he and his team were never able to find any trace of the young man. Davíd’s father still visits the police station once a year to see if there’s any news, but Erlendur has never been able to help him. This year, the old man says that he doesn’t have much longer to live and he wants to know what happened to his son before he dies. So Erlendur re-opens the case. He finds that a young woman named Gudrún disappeared at about the same time Davíd did, and begins to wonder whether the two cases were related. As Erlendur gets to the truth about these missing young people, we can see how difficult it’s been for their families not to know what happened to them – not to have answers.

That’s also true for Dorothy Pine, whom we meet in Giles Blunt’s Forty Words for Sorrow. Five months earlier, her thirteen-year-old daughter Katie disappeared after school one day. Detective John Cardinal of the Algonquin Bay (Ontario) Police was on the team that investigated the disappearance, but they weren’t able to come up with any solid leads on Katie’s whereabouts. Dorothy calls in sometimes asking if there is any news about her daughter. But Cardinal is never able to give her any information. Then the body of a young girl is found in an abandoned mineshaft on Windigo Island. When it turns out to be Katie’s body, Cardinal has the thankless job of informing her mother. Dorothy now has the closure that she wanted but of course, that’s little comfort. Still, she is willing to help Cardinal find out who killed Katie. So she gives him as much information as she can and there’s a poignant scene in which he goes through Katie’s things. It shows how very hard the wait has been for her mother. Eventually Cardinal and his partner Lise Delorme are able to tie in Katie’s death with the disappearances of other young people.

It’s not always family members, either, who want answers and therefore, some closure. In Jill Edmondson’s Dead Light District, Toronto PI Sasha Jackson gets a new client. Brothel owner Candace Curtis is worried about one of her employees Mary Carmen Santamaria, who seems to have gone missing. Of course it’s possible that the young woman simply decided to leave, but Curtis doesn’t think that’s what happened. And she really is worried about Santamaria, since in that line of work, a lot of things can go wrong. Jackson agrees to take the case and begins to ask questions. It turns out that Curtis was right to be concerned; Jackson’s search for answers takes her into the seamier side of Toronto’s sex trade, and into some ugly truths about human trafficking. As Curtis does her best to help Jackson, we can sense how difficult it is for her not to know what’s happened to ‘one of her girls.’

It’s awful, truly awful, to learn that someone you care about has been killed. But a lot of people would say that it’s worse not to know. I’ve only included a few examples here. Which gaps have I left?

 

On Another Note

 

Malaysia Airlines Plane

 

This post is dedicated to the families and friends of those lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  My thoughts and wishes go out to them as they go through the grieving process and wait for answers. I hope that all the answers come soon.

 

 

 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a Tom Petty song.

 

 

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Arnaldur Indriðason, Elly Griffiths, Giles Blunt, Jill Edmondson, Ruth Rendell

I Don’t Want Clever Conversation*

EuphemismsA very interesting post from B.C. Stone at The Vagrant Mood has got me thinking about euphemisms. Oh, and before I go on, you’ll want to go pay a visit to The Vagrant Mood. It’s a fantastic resource for all sorts of thoughts on writing, classic novels, film and art. Trust me.

Now, back to euphemisms. There are a lot of topics people may feel uncomfortable talking about, and euphemisms can help people discuss them without feeling so awkward. We don’t want to be lied to, and most of us don’t like lying to others. At the same time, blunt terms can make it really difficult to discuss certain things. So it makes sense that people use euphemisms at times. They run through crime-fictional conversations just as they do any other conversation, so you see them a lot in the genre. Here are just a few examples.

In Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party, detective novelist Ariadne Oliver has traveled to the village of Woodleigh Common to spend some time with her friend Judith Butler. While there, she assists at the preparations for the local school’s Hallowe’en party. At one point, she needs to excuse herself:

 

‘Mrs. Oliver…left the room in search of a particular apartment, the geography of which is usually fairly easily identified.’

 

It’s obvious of course where Mrs. Oliver is headed, but Christie chooses a euphemistic expression. During the preparations for the party, one of the young people there, Joyce Reynolds, boasts of having seen a murder. No-one believes her, but when she is murdered during the party later that day, it’s clear that she might have been telling the truth. So Mrs. Oliver asks her friend Hercule Poirot to investigate. He agrees and discovers that Joyce’s murder has everything to do with past events in the village.

Many, many crime novels use euphemisms for prostitution. Women who are employed that way are sometimes called ‘working girls’ and sometimes ‘sex workers.’ Here’s an interesting perspective on euphemisms from that profession from Jill Edmondson’s Dead Light District. In that novel, Toronto PI Sasha Jackson gets a new client Candace Curtis, who runs an exclusive bordello. Curtis is worried because one of her employees Mary Carmen Santamaria has gone missing. Jackson isn’t too sure about the case but she does accept it. It turns out that the search for the missing Mary Carmen leads into Toronto’s very shady underworld, as well as into the world of human trafficking. Here’s a bit of a conversation that Jackson and Curtis have early in the novel:

 

‘You have a database of hookers?’… [Jackson]
‘Please, don’t call them hookers. Most of the girls use the term intimacy consultant, though some call themselves relaxation therapists. I know they’re euphemisms, but they’re important to the girls’ self esteem.’
‘Consultants. Right. Got it.’

 

As the novel goes on, Jackson learns that she has some preconceived notions about the business, and it’s interesting to see her reaction as her assumptions go up against what she finds out.

In Mickey Spillane’s My Gun is Quick, PI Mike Hammer is at a coffee shop when he meets Nancy Sanford who sometimes uses the coffee shop as a ‘sales office.’ (See? I use euphemisms too at times.) She approaches Hammer, and when he demurs, she says,

 

‘Rest easy Mister, I won’t give you a sales talk. There are only certain types interested in what I have to sell.’

 

Hammer has some compassion for Nancy, and when she tells him how she got into the business, he gives her some money to make a new start for herself. Shortly after they meet, Nancy is run down in a not-so-accidental hit-and-run incident. When Hammer finds out, he determines to track down her murderer. In the process he uncovers a prostitution ring with some very high-level connections.

There are plenty of other euphemisms related to prostitution and sex of course, and we see them all throughout crime fiction. Here, for instance, is a bit of a conversation from Philip Kerr’s Prague Fatale, featuring his Berlin PI Bernie Gunther. At this point in the novel, Gunther is looking for a young woman Arianne Tauber. He thinks she works at a place called the Golden Horseshoe, but one of the hostesses there tells him that she doesn’t:

 

‘So where does she work?’ [Gunther]
‘Arianne? She runs the cloakroom at the Jockey Bar. Has for a while. For a girl like Arianne, there’s a lot of money to be made at the Jockey.
‘In the cloakroom?’
‘You can do a lot more in a cloakroom than just hang a coat, honey.’

 

Gunther knows without his informant having to use vulgar terms exactly what kind of girl Arianne Tauber probably is…

Of course, crime and mystery fiction often deals with murder. And a lot of people are uncomfortable with words such as ‘dead,’ ‘deceased,’ or ‘killed.’ Euphemisms can make conversations with witnesses and family members a little easier. There are dozens and dozens of examples of this sort of euphemism in crime fiction; here is just one. In Jane Casey’s The Burning, DC Maeve Kerrigan and her team at the Met are investing two cases that may be related. One is a series of murders committed by a killer dubbed ‘the Burning Man’ by the press, since he tries to destroy his victims’ bodies by fire. Another is the murder of Rebecca Haworth, who may or may not have been the Burning Man’s latest victim. At one point, Kerrigan is talking to Haworth’s parents, trying to get a sense of what she was like. The idea is that the more she knows about the victim, the closer she’ll get to the killer. When the conversation is over, Haworth’s father says,

 

‘She was happy. She had everything to live for. So please, Maeve, do find the person who did this to her, for our sake.’

 

Neither of Haworth’s parents is unwilling to face the fact that she is dead, although it is devastating. But the euphemism is still useful to them.

I could of course go on and on about euphemisms because they are so common in language. In part that’s because most of us do want to be told the truth, but we don’t always want it told in the most unvarnished terms. Which examples of euphemisms have you noticed in crime fiction?

 

 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Billy Joel’s Just the Way You Are.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Jane Casey, Jill Edmondson, Mickey Spillane, Philip Kerr

Crime Fiction News Break


 
 

Links You’ll Want

 

Geoffrey McGeachin

Rebecca Bradley

Jill Edmondson

Shelly Reuben

 
 

In a Word, Murder

Now available in paper form! Click the cover to check it out!
 
Ina Word Murder Cover1

Princess Alice Hospice

Martin Edwards

Lesley Fletcher

Pamela Griffiths

Paula K. Randall

Jane Risdon

Elizabeth Spann Craig

Sarah Ward

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Filed under Geoffrey McGeachin, Jill Edmondson, Shelly Reuben, Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

Ev’rybody Had a Good Year*

2013 ReleasesI’m very lucky. I’m a member of a wonderful crime fiction community and that in itself means a lot to me. Some of my friends in that community are also writers, and several of them had books come out this year. I know how busy everyone gets as the year goes by; I know I do anyway. So I thought I’d take a bit of time now before we close the doors on 2013 to share some great releases from this year in case you missed ‘em.

Rob Kitchin’s Stiffed is a terrific screwball noir story. Tadhg Maguire knows it’s going to be a bad day when he wakes up next to a dead man. It only makes matters worse that the dead man is Tony Marino, ‘right hand man’ to powerful gangster Aldo Morelli. Maquire knows that calling the police isn’t an option. If they don’t arrest him for murder, he’ll probably have a very life-shortening ‘meeting’ with someone in Pirelli’s gang. So instead, he calls his friend Jason Choi and asks him to help get rid of the body. Choi agrees and the two men get to work. But they soon discover that finding a place to dispose of the body is going to be the least of their problems…

Paddy Richardson’s Cross Fingers was also released this year. In that novel, Wellington television journalist Rebecca Thorne is working on an exposé of dubious land developer Denny Graham. Graham has apparently fleeced several clients of all of their savings, and Thorne’s gathering names, amounts of money, and so on. But then, her boss asks her to switch her focus and do a story on the 30th anniversary of the Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand. ‘The Tour’ was extremely controversial because of South Africa’s then-in-place policy of Apartheid. There were protests, reports of police abuse, and a lot of divisions and conflicts. At first Thorne’s reluctant to pursue the story, as she feels it’s already been done. But then she discovers an unsolved murder from that time. Now she’s got the fresh angle she wants. She also finds out that there are some people who do not want that murder solved.

Also released this past year was Angela Savage’s The Dying Beach. Bangkok-based PI Jayne Keeney and her partner Rajiv Patel are enjoying some time off from work at Krabi, on the Thai coast. While they’re there, they take a tour guided by a young woman who calls herself Pla. Both are very upset when they learn later that Pla’s body has been found in a cave. The official report is that she drowned, either accidentally or by suicide. But Keeney doesn’t believe it. For one thing, Pla was an expert swimmer. For another, the forensics findings are not really consistent with death by drowning. So Keeney decides to ask some questions. She and Patel learn that Pla was working on a project with an environmental group. Her job was to attend meetings between villagers and a development company and ensure that the villagers’ questions and concerns were heard and addressed. On one level then, it seems that no-one would have wanted to kill Pla; the villagers benefited from her presence, and the company needed her to prove its responsiveness to local needs. But as Keeney and Patel dig deeper, they find that Pla had learned something that it wasn’t safe for her to know. That knowledge cost the young woman her life.

Martin Edwards’ The Frozen Shroud is the sixth in his Lake District series that features DCI Hannah Scarlett and Oxford historian Daniel Kind. In this outing, which takes place in the small town of Ravesbank, Scarlett and her team investigate three murders committed many years apart. One is the murder of a housemaid Gertrude Smith, which occurred just before World War I. The next is the five-year-old murder of Shenagh Moss, who had settled into the same house. That’s when Kind gets interested in what might link the murders.  And then another occurs, one that strikes closer to home.  Each victim is a young woman who’s murdered at Hallowe’en. And each victim is found with her face covered by a cloth that seems to serve as a shroud…

For those who like historical mysteries, William Ryan’s The Twelfth Department was also released this year. It’s the third in his Alexei Korolev series, which takes place in pre-World War II Stalinist Moscow. In this novel, Moscow CID Captain Korolev and his assistant Sergeant Nadezhda Slivka are assigned to investigate the murder of an eminent scientist Boris Azarov. His work is considered both important and top-secret, so the NKVD wants the case handled as quietly as possible. All signs point to one particular person, but then that person too is murdered. Now there will have to be a further investigation, and as Korolev and Slivka dig deeper, they find out that the truth about Azarov’s work and his murder is very dangerous indeed.

Another historical mystery that came out this year was K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly, the first in her Concordia Wells series that takes place beginning in 1896. Wells is a professor at Hartford Women’s College, where she’s kept busy with classes, preparations for the school’s production of The Scottish Play, and of course, the many needs and issues that arise when a group of students is away from home for the first time. Then, college bursar Ruth Lyman is found dead, apparently a suicide. There are also some very malicious pranks and even arson to contend with at the school. Matters come to a head when Wells’ sister Mary dies. It’s already been made clear to Wells that she’s expected to act with decorum – ‘like a lady’ – and not play hero. But she is determined to find out who’s responsible for what’s going on at the school. Oh, and what’s really exciting is that the second in this series, Unseemly Pursuits, has just been released. More on that soon!

Prefer a cosy mystery? Elizabeth Spann Craig’s had a few releases this year. One is Rubbed Out, the fourth in her Memphis Barbecue series which she writes as Riley Adams. Aunt Pat’s Barbecue, which is owned and run by Lulu Taylor, is one of Memphis’ most popular restaurants and it keeps Lulu busy. But she’s persuaded to attend the Rock and Ribs Competition. Then, one of the other competitors Rueben Shaw is murdered. Lulu’s friend Cherry Hayes had an argument with him shortly before the murder, so of course, she’s a suspect. Lulu knows her friend’s not a killer though, and determines to clear her name.

Another release from Spann Craig is Knot What it Seams, the second in her Southern Quilting series. In this novel, Beatrice Coleman has joined the Village Quilters guild in Dappled Hills, North Carolina. She’s settled into small-town life and has made friends. Then, the guild’s newest member Jo Paxton dies in what looks like a tragic car accident. But when it turns out that someone tampered with her brakes, the Village Quilters know that one of them may be a murderer…

Also published this year was Jill Edmondson’s Frisky Business, the fourth in her Sasha Jackson series. In this story, Raven Greywolf hires Jackson to find out what happened to her friend Julia McPhee, who went by the name of Kitty Vixen. McPhee was a porn film actress who was beaten to death and found at a construction site. The case hasn’t been solved, and Greywolf doesn’t think the police are going to do much about it. Jackson agrees to take the case and begins to look into the victim’s life. There are plenty of possibilities too. For one thing, she worked for a sleazy porn film company where the actors aren’t treated well and not expected to complain. The problem for the company was that McPhee had started agitating for better protection for the film workers and better working conditions. And then there’s her personal past. Jackson finds more than one suspect there, too. Bit by bit, Jackson gets to the truth about McPhee’s last days and weeks and finds out who really killed her and why.

Oh, and a very special thanks to Martin Edwards, Lesley Fletcher, Pamela Griffiths, Paula K. Randall, Jane Risdon, Elizabeth Spann Craig and Sarah Ward for their hard work on In a Word: Murder, an anthology of stories about crime in the publishing, writing, editing and blogging fields. Their stories are excellent, folks. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you’ll want to. Not only are you getting some great stories, but you’re doing good as well, since all the proceeds from this anthology go in aid of Princess Alice Hospice.

 

Yes, it’s been quite a year for some terrific releases. If you haven’t had a chance to check these out, you may just want to add them to your 2014 reading list.

 

 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Beatles’ I’ve Got a Feeling.

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Filed under Angela Savage, Elizabeth Spann Craig, Jane Risdon, Jill Edmondson, K.B. Owen, Lesley Fletcher, Martin Edwards, Paddy Richardson, Pamela Griffiths, Paula K. Randall, Riley Adams, Rob Kitchin, Sarah Ward, William Ryan

When the Chips Are Down I’ll Be Around*

Unlikely HeroesPeople don’t always know how they would react in a crisis until one happens. And then, it’s sometimes surprising the way people whom you wouldn’t have expected it of turn out to be real heroes. Somehow that crisis brings out their very best. There are a lot of examples of that in real life, and of course, we see it in crime fiction too.

Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links for instance introduces us to a young woman who calls herself Cinderella. Captain Hastings happens to meet her when they share a compartment on a train and, although she’s by no means stupid or weak, she certainly doesn’t strike one as heroic. Hastings thinks she’s attractive (if a bit annoying) but doesn’t think much more about her. Then, he and Hercule Poirot travel to France at the request of Paul Renauld. Renauld has sent Poirot a letter saying that his life is in danger and asking for Poirot’s help. When the two get to the Renauld home, they find that they’ve arrived too late:  he’s been stabbed and his body found on a nearby golf course. Poirot finds out who is responsible for the murder, but that doesn’t mean the danger is over. I think I can say without spoiling the story that at a very critical point, ‘Cinderella’ proves her mettle and turns out to be quite heroic.

The main plot of Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Tailors revolves around a robbery, some missing emeralds, and their connections to an unknown corpse found in the Thorpe family grave. Lord Peter Wimsey gets drawn into this mystery when he and his valet Mervyn Bunter are stranded near the village of Fenchurch St. Paul after a car accident. Rector Theodore Venables invites the men to lodge at the rectory while the car is being repaired and they agree gratefully. Wimsey is able to return the kindness when one of the church’s change-ringers Will Thoday is taken ill. Since Wimsey has some experience, he offers to take Thoday’s place and Venables is only too happy to have his help. The change-ringing goes well but the next day, word comes that Lady Thorpe, wife of the local squire, has died. Wimsey and Bunter stay for the funeral and then go on their way. Several months later, Wimsey gets a letter from Venables. Sir Henry Thorpe has died, and while the gravediggers were preparing for the service, they discovered the body of an unknown man in the Thorpe family grave. Venables asks Wimsey to return to Fenchurch and find out who the dead man was and why his body is in the grave. Wimsey and Bunter go and they discover how this body is related to the robbery and the missing emeralds. Throughout most of the story, Venables is portrayed as an essentially very decent person, but a little scatty and vague – certainly not a person you’d label a hero. But when a flood comes to Fenchurch, he takes the lead and behaves heroically as he works to save his congregants from the rising waters. The flood isn’t the main plot, but the threat of a storm is a thread that runs through the story.

In Andrew Nette’s Ghost Money, Australian ex-cop Max Quinlan is hired by Madeleine Avery to find her missing brother Charles. He’s fairly good at tracking down people who don’t want to be found, so he’s a natural choice for the job. Quinlan travels to Bangkok, where Avery was last known to live. But when he gets to Avery’s apartment, he finds that his quarry is gone. He also finds the body of Avery’s business partner Robert Lee. Quinlan discovers that Avery’s next destination was Phnom Penh, so he heads to Cambodia. There, he meets journalist’s assistant Heng Sarin. Sarin isn’t weak-willed at all, but he’s a bit retiring and certainly not the ‘macho’ type. He is however extremely knowledgeable about Cambodia and he and Quinlan form a partnership as Quinlan continues to search for Avery. It turns out that Avery had gotten the wrong people very angry, so Quinlan and Sarin face long odds as they follow the trail to Northern Cambodia. Sarin proves to be both loyal and heroic as the pair find out what happened to Avery and why so many people seem determined that they won’t learn the truth.

Mark Douglas-Home’s The Sea Detective introduces us to Preeti and Basanti, two young girls from India who have become a part of the dhanda – a term used to refer to India’s sex trade. The girls’ families have been paid money for their services, the idea being that Preeti and Basanti will work in the trade for a certain amount of time and then return to their villages. Preeti is positive and quite brave about joining ‘the trade,’ although she’s nervous. And Basanti depends heavily on her friend’s courage and optimism. When the girls are sent to Scotland, they manage to stay together until they arrive. Then they are separated and for quite a time Basanti doesn’t know what’s happened to her close friend. One day she finds a way to escape the people who’ve been holding her, and goes looking for Preeti. She discovers that the body of an unknown young woman has been found in the sea, and that it could very well be the body of her friend. She makes her way to the home of oceanographer and Ph.D. student Caladh ‘Clad’ McGill. He’s an expert on wave patterns and ocean movement, and just may be able to help Basanti find out who killed Preeti. Throughout this novel Basanti shows what she’s made of as the saying goes, and proves herself quite heroic as she survives horrible trauma and manages to help McGill discover the truth.

In Jill Edmondson’s Blood and Groom, Toronto PI Sasha Jackson is hired by Christine Arvisais to find out who killed Arvisais’ former fiancé Gordon Hanes. Hanes was shot on what would have been their wedding day had the engagement not been broken off. A lot of people think Arvisais is responsible for the murder, but she claims she’s innocent and wants to clear her name. Jackson takes an immediate dislike to her client, but a fee is a fee, so she gets to work. She discovers that Arvisais is not the only one with a motive for murder in this case. What’s more, she finds that Hanes’ murder may be connected with some other deaths. One of the characters we meet in this novel is Victor, a former client of Jackson’s. He’s a little eccentric and has, as Jackson puts it, a ‘runamok mouth.’ He’s also quite smitten with Jackson. He’s a nice guy but not at all what you’d think of as the heroic type. But as it turns out, he has more brains and courage than Jackson knows, and comes through at a very crucial time.

And then there’s Andrea Camilleri’s Dance of the Seagull. In that novel, Vigàta Inspector Salvo Montalbano is faced with a particularly difficult case. One of his valuable team members Giuseppe Fazio has gone missing. At the time of his disappearance, Fazio was following up on some leads to a dangerous smuggling ring and Montalbano believes that his best chance of finding his teammate is to follow the trail Fazio left. That trail turns out to be particularly risky; it ends up leading to several crimes, including murder.  The team members do find Fazio, wounded but alive. He’s transported to hospital and that’s where Montalbano meets Angela, a nurse who works there. Like most nurses Angela works hard and does her job well. But she doesn’t strike one as unusually heroic. And yet, as Montalbano and his team get closer to catching the people responsible for the crimes, she shows remarkable courage.

Just goes to show you – you never know what kind of inner strength and bravery people have until they’re up against it. These are just a few examples. Your turn.

 

 
 

*NOTE: The title of this song is a line from Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s The Power of Love. 

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Andrea Camilleri, Andrew Nette, Dorothy Sayers, Jill Edmondson, Mark Douglas-Home