Any Two-Bit Job That Pays*

Not every PI or attorney is well-known and sought-after by the rich and famous. In fact, some lawyers and PIs are very much ‘low rent.’ There are a variety of reasons for this, of course. Sometimes it’s because of the sorts of cases they take. Sometimes it’s because they simply don’t have recognition. There are other reasons, too.

These sorts of attorneys and PIs can make for interesting characters in crime fiction. For one thing, they may have interesting backstories. For another, the sorts of cases and people they deal with are often (not always) gritty, if I can put it that way. And that can add a layer of interest to a story, to say nothing of plot points.

For instance, in William Hjortsberg’s Falling Angel, which takes place in 1959, we are introduced to low-rent PI Harry Angel. He’s not used to dealing with ‘upper crust’ clients, but one day, he gets a call from an upmarket law firm. It seems that one of their clients, Louis Cyphre, wants to find a missing man. His quarry is talented jazz artist Jonathan Liebling, also known as Johnny Favorite. According to Cyphre, he helped Liebling out at the beginning of his career, in return for which he was promised certain ‘collateral.’  World War II intervened, and Liebling came back from combat physically and emotionally damaged. He was placed in a psychiatric hospital, but now, he’s disappeared. Angel agrees to take the case, and starts to ask questions. But he soon finds that this is no normal missing person case. Instead, he’s drawn into a web of murder, horror, and evil.

Fans of Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder will know that he used to be a New York City police detective. A tragic accidental shooting changed everything, and as the series begins, he’s a down-at-the-heels occasional PI. He doesn’t even have his license at first, and he barely maintains a home. He doesn’t have his own office, either; instead, he holds court in local bars. As the series goes on, Scudder does a little better, gets his official PI license, and so on. But he still deals with plenty of gritty characters and places.

So does Walter Mosley’s Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins. When he loses his wartime (World War II) job at an aircraft manufacturing plant, he has to find some way to make a living. So, he accepts a commission to find a missing woman in Devil in a Blue Dress. From then, he begins to get a reputation for being able to find missing people and solve other problems. Like Scudder, he doesn’t have a regular office or a fine home. And a lot of the people he helps are ‘regular people,’ rather than wealthy, well-connected people. As the series goes on, he gets an official PI license, and has some success. But he generally doesn’t mix with those who go to ‘A-list’ parties.

There’s also C.B. McKenzie’s Rodeo Grace Garnet, whom we meet in Bad Country. He’s a former rodeo star who now works as an occasional bounty hunter and low-rent private investigator. He doesn’t have an office, or post advertisements. Instead, he gets clients by word of mouth. That’s how he hears that Katherine Rocha wants him to look into the death of her teenage grandson, Samuel. The official explanation for the boy’s death is that he fell from a bridge (or possibly, committed suicide). But there’s also evidence that he might have been shot, and knocked from the bridge. If so, his grandmother wants to know who shot the boy and why. Garnet takes the case, and soon finds that some wealthy and well-connected people do not want the death investigated.

Fans of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski will know that she, too, starts out as what you might call a ‘low-rent’ PI. Certainly, she doesn’t live a wealthy life, and her clients are not always well-connected.

There’s also mystery novelist and fellow blogger E. Michael Helms’ Dinger. He’s a low-rent PI in post-World War II Las Vegas. He’s a tough, hardboiled sort of a guy, who’s not afraid to mix it up with all sorts of low-life types. Helms has published his Dinger stories in serial form. You can read Part One of one of them, Rose, right here. Once you do, you’ll want to read the other parts, too! I hope – I really do – that we’ll see more of Dinger. A-hem, Mr. Helms…

Martin Edwards’ Harry Devlin is a Liverpool-based attorney. But he’s not the sort you see in high-profile, lucrative cases. He’s a low-rent attorney who makes his living defending drunks, prostitutes and thieves, among others. He’s got a small place, and works in a cheap firm. So, he sees the gritty side of the city. In All The Lonely People, where we first meet him, Devlin is shocked when his ex-wife, Liz, comes for a visit. She says she’s left her current lover, Mick Coghlin, because he’s abusive, and she’s afraid of him. She asks to stay with Devlin a few days, and he agrees. Then, she disappears, and her body is found in an alley. Devlin feels guilty because he didn’t take Liz’ concerns seriously at first, and decides to find out who murdered her. At first, he assumes that Coghlin is the killer. But the more Devlin learns, the more possibilities there are. His search for the truth takes him into several of Liverpool’s seedy places.

And then there’s Attica Locke’s Jay Porter. When we are introduced to him, in Black Water Rising, he’s a low-rent Houston-area lawyer. It’s 1981, and Porter is trying to build his law business. But so far, he’s not been very successful. Then, in one plot thread, he gets drawn into the case of a fatal shooting. The trail leads to some very high, very well-protected places, and it’s a big risk for Porter. He’s black in what is still very much a white person’s world. And he’s up against some considerable opposition.

Low-rent, two-bit, down-at-the-heel, whatever you call it, such fictional attorneys and PIs add an interesting layer to crime fiction. They often deal with the sorts of cases others might not be willing to handle. And they themselves can be interesting characters.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Clouds’ Pocket.


Filed under Attica Locke, C.B. McKenzie, E. Michael Helms, Lawrence Block, Martin Edwards, Sara Paretsky, Walter Mosley, William Hjortsberg

I’m Poor as a Mouse, I’m Richer Than Midas*

As times have changed, so has society. And that shows, of course, in crime fiction. For instance, people don’t have paid companions as they once did. So, we don’t see them in the genre as much as, perhaps, they once were.

The same is arguably true of what used to be called wards. These are young people (usually, but not always, girls and young women) who live with guardians, rather than immediate family members. There still are such situations, but they are less common as social services have become broader and more common. For many young people, being a ward used to mean avoiding orphanages, workhouses and other places that could be dangerous or worse. Certainly, it meant the chance for a healthier life, depending on the guardian.

Wards are interesting characters in crime fiction. They aren’t exactly family members; but, at the same time, they’re also not paid employees. And they can add a layer to the family dynamics of a crime novel.

For example, you could arguably consider Charles Dickens’ Bleak House a crime novel. There’s a murder, there’s a detective, and so on. In one of the plot threads of the novel, we are introduced to Esther Summerson. She’s been raised by a very unpleasant, angry woman she calls Grandmother. Her life’s rather difficult until philanthropist John Jarndyce takes an interest in her. He takes her in as his ward, and arranges for her to be companion to a young woman, Ada Clare. The two become close friends, and Esther seems to have a relatively secure future. Even when Ada meets and falls in love with Richard Carstone, Esther remains in ‘the inner circle.’ Both Ada and Richard are distant kin to Jarndyce, so he stays in close contact with them. All of these characters are also linked, in their ways, to a dispute over a will that’s been languishing in the Court of Chancery for several generations. That will, and the people connected to it, are linked to a murder and another death. Admittedly, Esther’s story doesn’t turn out to be perfect. But her status as a ward is arguably much better than it might have been otherwise.

In Anna Katherine Green’s short story, The House of Clocks, New York private investigator Violet Strange gets a strange case. Wealthy Arabella Postlethwaite wanted her will drawn up, so she summoned an attorney for the purpose. When the attorney arrived, he discovered that his new client lives with her stepdaughter, Helena. But it’s not a close relationship. In fact, Helena is much more a ward who’s kept quite grudgingly than a loved member of the family. She’s not fed properly, and is treated like a slave. And it’s been made clear that she will get nothing when her stepmother dies. Violet’s charge is to look into the matter, so she goes to the house in the guise of a nurse/maid. She’s going to have to learn this family’s history, and find out the truth about the will, if she’s to rescue Helena.

Agatha Christie’s Cynthia Murdoch has a much easier time as ward. When we meet her, in The Mysterious Affair at Styles, she’s living with wealthy Emily Inglethorp, her husband Alfred, and Emily’s stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish. Also living at the house are John’s wife, Mary, and Emily Inglethorp’s friend/companion Evelyn Howard. Cynthia is the daughter of a school friend of Emily’s; when she was left an orphan, with no money at all, Emily took her in. On the one hand, she has a solid life, a comfortable room, a job, and so on. And, to be fair, she’s not treated like ‘one of the help.’ On the other, she knows exactly which way her bread’s buttered, as the saying goes, and is deferential to her benefactor. And Emily reminds Cynthia of her status in subtle, but real ways.

Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series takes place in the mid/late 1920s, mostly in the Melbourne area. In Murder on the Ballarat Train, Phryne meets two young girls, Jane Graham and Ruth Collins. Both were orphaned, and ended up working in a boardinghouse as more or less slaves. In the course of the novel, Phryne takes both girls in as her wards, and they settle in to their new lives. Fans of this series can tell you that Jane and Ruth are treated much more like daughters than like servants in Phryne’s household. In fact, she ends up legally adopting both. It’s very interesting to see how much of this is done informally, as opposed to a more formal, more regulated fostering and adoption situation.

And then there’s M.R.C. Kasasian’s Victorian-Era Grover Street Detective series. These novels feature famous private detective Sidney Grice. In The Mangle Street Murders, we are introduced to him, and to his goddaughter, twenty-one-year-old March Middleton. When March’s father dies (her mother died years earlier), she is left an orphan, with no near relatives. So, she goes to London to stay with Grice, who has agreed to act as her guardian. Before long, she becomes not just his ward, but his assistant, and the two become a successful detecting team. This is a grittier series than, say, the Sherlock Holmes/Dr. Watson mysteries that you may be thinking of as you read this. And, although March does settle in with her godfather, this doesn’t mean they become immediate fast friends…

Young people without immediate family have always been in a precarious position. Even today, with modern social services, there’s no guarantee of a safe, caring home and a good life. And a look at the way crime-fictional wards have been treated shows that there’s just as much uncertainly in the genre. Which examples have stayed with you?


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Charles Strouse and Martin Charmin’s I Don’t Need Anything But You.


Filed under Agatha Christie, Anna Katherine Green, Charles Dickens, Kerry Greenwood, M.R.C. Kasasian

I Guess Every Form of Refuge Has Its Price*

I’m always grateful when I get inspiration from the rest of you kind folks. You have some terrific ideas, and I like learning from them. Take K.B. Owen, for instance. She’s a skilled crime writer (you want to read her Concordia Wells novels – you really do), and a fellow blogger. She had a great idea for a post, so I thought I’d run with it, as the saying goes.

Safety and security are really important to us. In fact, if you believe theorists such as Abraham Maslow, It’s not really possible to go on to higher things like emotional connections, higher cognitive processing, and so on, if one doesn’t feel safe. So, people will go to a lot of lengths to create a sense of safety – a refuge, if you will.

The problem is that choosing perceived safety or refuge can have consequences. As an extreme example, agoraphobics feel safest at home. But, this means they also limit themselves. But, if you think about it, we all trade some things in for safety. We trade the thrill of very fast driving in for road safety, for instance. That sort of tradeoff happens in real life, and it happens in crime fiction, too.

For example, in Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly, we meet Amy Folliat. Her family owned Nasse House, in Devon, for many centuries. But World War II and other problems meant that the house had to be sold. Now, it’s the property of Sir George Stubbs and his wife, Hattie. Mrs. Folliat lives in a lodge on the grounds of Nasse House. For her, it’s a safe, secure arrangement, and it means that she gets to stay among the local people she’s always known. But that safety has come at a price. And life has not always been kind to Mrs. Folliat. She’s stoic, though. As she says,

‘‘So many things are hard…’’

She gets involved in a murder investigation when detective novelist Ariadne Oliver is asked to create a Murder Hunt (along the lines of a scavenger hunt) for an upcoming fête to be held at Nasse House. On the day of the event, Marlene Tucker, who’s been chosen to play the ‘victim’ in the Murder Hunt, is actually killed. Mrs. Oliver has asked Hercule Poirot to the house, so he works with Inspector Bland to find out who the killer is.

Romain Gary’s short story, A Humanist, takes place in Munich at the time of Hitler’s rise to power. Toy manufacturer Karl Loewy enjoys a good book, a good glass of brandy and a good cigar. He’s a humanist who believes that common sense will prevail in Germany, and that there is no cause for alarm. Despite warnings from his Jewish friends, he’s determined to stay where he is. Finally, things get dangerous enough that Herr Loewy decides he will need to go into hiding. So, he gets help from Herr and Frau Schultz, who take care of his home and kitchen. They build a secret underground home, and agree to take over Herr Loewy’s affairs until the war is over. Herr Loewy now has a safe refuge from all of the ugliness in the world. But it comes at a very high price.

Robert Colby’s novella No Experience Necessary introduces us to Glenn Hadlock. He’s recently been released from prison, and he’s not finding it easy to get a job. One day, though, he sees something that might work. Victor Scofield is looking for someone to serve as a bodyguard/escort for his wife, Eileen. Scofield himself is permanently disabled, and can’t leave the house. But he doesn’t want his wife to be confined in the same way. So, he’s looking for someone to serve as her driver, and escort when that’s necessary. Hadlock gets the job, and at first, all’s well. The job pays well, it comes with a furnished apartment, and Eileen is pleasant company. But it’s not long before Hadlock learns the high price for all of this safety.

Love, Lies and Liquor is the 17th of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. In it, Agatha’s ex-husband, James Lacey, persuades her to take a short holiday at Snoth-on-Sea, where he spent many holidays as a child. The resort, and the Palace Hotel, where they stay, are both deeply disappointing. In fact, Agatha wants to leave immediately. But she’s soon drawn into a murder that takes place there. Geraldine Jankers is staying at the hotel for her honeymoon (with her fourth husband). One night, her body is found on a nearby beach, strangled with Agatha’s own scarf. Agatha’s name is cleared soon enough, but now, she’s intrigued. So, she stays on at Snoth-on-Sea to investigate. And she soon finds that more than one person had a very good motive to want to kill the victim. Two possible suspects are the victim’s friend and childhood sweetheart Cyril Hammond, and his wife, Dawn. As Agatha gets to know them, she learns that Dawn may have been subjected to domestic abuse. In fact, Dawn actually leaves her husband at one point in the story. But, he has quite a lot of money – money she’s never really had before. So, in the end, it’s not spoiling the story to say that Dawn trades her newfound freedom for what she sees as the safety of a fine home and the other trappings of wealth.

And then there’s A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife. Jodi Brett and Todd Gilbert are a successful Chicago couple. She’s a psychotherapist; he’s a developer. They’ve been together twenty years, although they never legally married. Jodi sees herself as having a secure, safe life. Then, Todd begins an affair with Natasha Kovacs, the daughter of his business partner. He’s strayed before, but this time, it’s different: Natasha discovers that she’s pregnant. She wants to marry and have a family, and Todd tells himself, and her, that he wants those things, too. But Todd misses Jodi, also, and their life together. So, in an odd way, she is hoping he’ll come back to her. Instead of starting over, Jodi clings to the home they’ve had together, and depends on it as a refuge and a haven. But then, she gets a letter from Todd’s attorney, stating that the home isn’t legally hers, and she will have to vacate it. The lawyer Jodi contacts gives her the bad news that there is no common law marriage in Illinois, so she has no grounds to claim the house. Now, with her options dwindling, Jodi gets desperate…

Everyone seeks safety and refuge. We need to feel safe before almost everything else. So, it’s no wonder that people will sometimes choose what they see as safety – as a refuge – over anything else. Even if it has serious consequences for them.

Thanks, Kathy, for the inspiration!


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from the Eagles’ Lyin’ Eyes.


Filed under Agatha Christie, M.C. Beaton, Robert Colby, A.S.A. Harrison, K.B. Owen, Romain Gary

Know the Word’s ‘Discreet’ With Part-Time Lovers*

A police investigation is supposed to be objective. That is to say, individual police are not supposed to investigate cases if they have close ties to one of the people involved (e.g. the victim, or one of the suspects). That makes sense, too, especially if that relationship makes the police officer a ‘person of interest.’

And, yet, if you look at crime fiction, you see several novels and stories in which the sleuth does have a close tie to either the victim or a suspect. Whether or not that plot point works depends a lot on the author’s way of handling it. Sometimes, it can be successful. Sometimes, it pushes the limits of credibility. I was reminded of this by an interesting comment exchange with Bill Selnes, at Mysteries and More From Saskatchewan. You’ll want to make that excellent blog one of your blog stops; I know it’s a must-visit for me. It’s a treasure trove of rich reviews and news about, especially, Canadian crime fiction.

In Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links, Hercule Poirot receives a letter from Paul Renauld, a Canadian émigré to France. In the letter, Renauld claims that his life is in danger, and makes reference to a secret that he has. He then pleads for Poirot to come to his aid. Poirot and Captain Hastings make the trip to France, only to find that Renauld has been killed. The investigation is in the hands of M. Giraud of the Sûreté, but Poirot feels an obligation to his now-dead client, so he looks into the matter. It turns out that there’s more than one possible suspect, and Poirot’s task is not made any easier by the relationship that Hastings develops with one of the ‘people of interest’ in the case.

Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent introduces readers to Rožat ‘Rusty’ Sabich, a Deputy Prosecutor for Kindle County, and a respected attorney. When another prosecuting attorney, Carolyn Polhemus, is murdered, the rest of the team goes full out to find her killer, and Sabich is put in charge of the investigation.  What he doesn’t tell anyone, though, is that he had an intimate relationship with the victim. It didn’t last, and it was over by the time she was killed. But it still puts Sabich very, very close to the case. Still, the investigation gets underway, and it soon comes out that Polhemus had a complicated personal life, as well as a complex past. So, there are several possible leads. Then, Sabich’s boss, Raymond Horgan, learns of Sabich’s affair with the victim. He immediately takes Sabich off the case and replaces him with another prosecutor, Tommy Molto. Sabich’s decision to keep quiet about his relationship adds fuel to the proverbial fire when he himself becomes a suspect, and ends up on trial for the murder.

T.J. Cooke’s Defending Elton features solicitor Jim Harwood. He gets involved in a case of murder when the body of Sarena Gunasekera is found at the bottom of a cliff at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne. It’s soon clear that the victim was murdered (i.e. this isn’t a case of an accidental fall or a suicide). The most likely suspect in the case is a mentally troubled young man named Elton Spears. He has a history of inappropriate contact with women, and he was known to be in the area at the time of the death. Spears is unable to defend himself against the charges; in fact, he’s quite inarticulate. Still, Harwood knows the young man, and takes the case. He works with his colleague, Loren Granger, and with barrister Harry Douglas to clear Spears’ name. All along, though, there’s a secret relationship with the victim that’s woven through the novel, that profoundly impacts the case, and that would change everything, were it known.

Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion is the first of her Anna Travis novels. In it, Travis joins the Murder Squad at Queen’s Park, London, just as the team is investigating a series of murders. Thus far, the victims have been older prostitutes. This time, though, the victim is seventeen-year-old Melissa Stephens. There is a possibility that the killings were committed by the same person; many things about the deaths are the same. But this victim was not only young, but also not a prostitute. So, it’s just as likely that she was killed by someone else. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) James Langton, Travis, and the rest of the team work to find out the truth. One very likely suspect is beloved television actor Alan Daniels. But the team will have to be very careful. Daniels, is wealthy, charming, and well-connected. If he’s the killer, the team will have to have incontrovertible evidence. Daniels and Travis meet, and he wants to see her to ‘help out the case’ if he can. On the one hand, Travis doesn’t lie about his interest in her (and, truth be told, she finds him intriguing, too). Her colleagues know that she sees him socially; in fact, they use that opportunity to support her as she tries to get information from him. On the other hand, more than once, she doesn’t tell her colleagues about every time that he calls and visits. It’s a very delicate situation, especially if Daniels is the killer. And it leads to some real tension in the story.

And then there’s Gordon Ell’s The Ice Shroud. That’s the novel that sparked the comment exchange I had with Bill. The body of Edie Longstreet is retrieved from the icy waters near Queenstown, on New Zealand’s South Island. Detective Sergeant (DS) Malcolm Buchan has recently moved from Dunedin to head the local Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). This is his first murder investigation with this team (although not his first murder case), so he wants to ‘make good.’ As the team looks into the killing, Buchan chooses not to tell anyone that he had an intimate relationship with the victim. It ended amicably, and was completely over before she was killed. Still, he says nothing about it. On the one hand, that does, as Bill says, add tension to the story. On the other, it compromises the investigation, and you could argue that it’s not realistic.

And that’s the thing. If the author is going to include such a ‘hidden relationship,’ it’s got to be done in a credible way. And that isn’t easy to do. Thanks, Bill, for the inspiration.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Stevie Wonder’s Part-Time Lover.




Filed under Agatha Christie, Gordon Ell, Lynda La Plante, Scott Turow, T.J. Cooke

In The Spotlight: Gordon Ell’s The Ice Shroud

Hello, All,

Welcome to another edition of In The Spotlight. This week, we’re continuing our special look at the finalists for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel. Today, let’s turn the spotlight on Gordon Ell’s The Ice Shroud.

Detective Sergeant (DS) Malcolm Buchan has recently moved from Dunedin to head the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) in the Southern Lakes District of New Zealand’s South Island. He’s just gotten started in his new job when the body of an unknown woman is found frozen in a river not far from Queenstown. The police are called in, and Buchan and his second-in-command, Magda Hansen, lead the investigation team. On the surface, it looks as though the woman might have committed suicide by jumping from a nearby bridge. But if that’s so, why is the body nude, especially as it’s winter?

Soon enough, the woman is identified as Edie Longstreet. She lived locally, and, together with Linda Priestly, she owned a lingerie shop called Figments. As Buchan and the team begin to look into the victim’s background, they find several possible leads.

One has to do with the business. A look at the records suggests that the shop wasn’t overly successful. And, yet, Edie lived well enough, and didn’t seem to be short of money. When the team discovers a cache of drugs, a whole new set of possibilities comes up.

Then there’s the victim’s personal life. Her ex-husband, football player Callum Dickson, doesn’t claim to know anything about the murder. But the team can’t take him at his word, and he could have more than one motive. There’s also the fact that Edie had several lovers. She enjoyed Queenstown’s nightlife, and had her share of companionship among the tourists. So, as the team traces her last days and weeks, the members also try to find out who she’d been seeing during that time. Then, too, there’s Edie’s own personal history. The team can’t ignore her family members.

As the investigation continues, we also get to know the different people who own Queenstown businesses. That network is important, since it’s a small community, and everyone knows everyone. Buchan and the rest of the team know that the motive might be found among the relationships Edie had with other business owners in the area. But that aspect of the investigation is hampered by the fact that this is a very tight-knit community – often called The Gang – that doesn’t want the police meddling in local affairs. More than once, Buchan finds himself up against some wealthy and well-placed local leaders.

Little by little, the team members peel away the layers of Edie’s personal and professional life. As they do, we learn that she was much more complex than anyone really knew. In the end, the team finds out who killed her and why, and that complexity plays its role in the case.

This is a police procedural. So, the team learns the truth through gathering evidence, interviewing people, looking into financial records, and so on. Readers also get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the way the team functions. On the one hand, there’s not a lot of backbiting and sabotage. Readers who dislike dysfunctional police teams will be pleased to know that, more or less, the team functions well. That’s not to say there’s no tension, though. For instance, it comes out that Magda Hansen very nearly got the job that Buchan now has. There are other small issues like that, too. Still, that sort of internal drama, if you will, isn’t a major part of the story.

Most of the novel is told from Buchan’s point of view (third person, past tense). So, we learn a bit about him – including the fact that he knew the victim. He had a relationship with her which ended, quite amicably, when he did military service in Afghanistan. His tour of duty turned out to be traumatic, and he was only too glad to return to a quiet life in New Zealand. Now, his relationship with Edit comes back to haunt him as he debates how much, if anything, to share with his colleagues. We learn about this part of his past (and a little about Edie’s personality) through flashbacks that are woven through the narrative.

The story takes place in the Queenstown area of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s a mecca for tourists, offering both summer and winter sport. It’s a beautiful area, and Ell makes that clear. The terrain is rugged, though, and sometimes quite unforgiving, and Ell makes that clear, too. As one example, the place where Edie’s body is discovered is too inaccessible for most vehicles. So, the team will have to use winches, wetsuits and harnesses to retrieve the body.

The Ice Shroud is the story of a small New Zealand tourist town, the people who live there year-round, and the impact on everyone when one of them is murdered. It’s also the story of the work the police do to find out who’s responsible. It features a detective sergeant who’s trying to settle into his new responsibilities, and a victim with a complicated history. But what’s your view? Have you read The Ice Shroud? If you have, what elements do you see in it?


Coming Up On In The Spotlight

Monday, 18 December/Tuesday, 19 December – Red Herring – Jonothan Cullinane

Monday, 25 December/Tuesday, 26 December  – Harriet Said – Beryl Bainbridge

Monday, 31 December/Tuesday 1 January – The Right Side – Spencer Quinn


Filed under Gordon Ell, The Ice Shroud