Category Archives: Carl Hiaasen

She Blinded Me With Science*

As this is posted, it would have been Marie Curie’s 151st birthday. Her contributions to our understanding of the world are too numerous to mention (and I’m not sophisticated enough in science to do them justice, anyway). And, of course, she made those contributions at a time when it was very unusual for a woman to be accepted as part of the scientific community.

Scientific breakthroughs are, of course, double-edged swords, as the saying goes. They are the basis for much of our progress. At the same time, they have consequences. We’ve certainly seen that in real life, including the work that the Curies did. And we see it in crime fiction, too.

In Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly, we meet atomic scientist Alec Legge. He and his wife, Peggy, are staying in a cottage on the property of Nasse House, which belongs to Sir George Stubbs. When Sir George and his wife, Hattie, host a charity fête, the whole household, including the Legges, get involved in preparing for it. So does their guest, mystery novelist Ariadne Oliver, who’s preparing a Murder Hunt competition for the event. She’s not typically a fanciful person, but she gets the feeling that something is very wrong with this fête, and that more is going on than it seems. So, she asks Hercule Poirot to visit and investigate. He (and Alec Legge) are both on hand on the day of the fête, when there is a murder. And it turns out that Legge’s profession has gotten him into a difficult situation that figures into this plot.

Peter Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow features Smilla Jaspersen, a Greenlander who now lives in Copenhagen. She is upset when ten-year-old Isaiah Christiansen, who lives in her building, dies from what seems to be a terrible accident – a fall from the roof of the building. She soon begins to suspect that this fall was not accidental and decides to ask questions. The trail leads back to Greenland, and to some scientific discoveries there that have serious consequences.

Robin Cook has written more than once about scientific breakthroughs and the risks and benefits they offer. In Seizure, for instance, we are introduced to Dr. Daniel Lowell. He’s been conducting some promising stem cell research and is hoping to make his procedure a viable option. But his interest in such research is not universal. There are several people, including powerful US Senator Ashley Butler, who are opposed to stem cell research. In fact, Butler supports a ban on studies such as the ones that Lowell has been conducting. So, it’s a real shock when Butler actually contacts Lowell with a proposal. Butler has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. If word of this gets out, he will have no chance to pursue his ambition of becoming president. He offers to withdraw his objections to stem cell research (thus giving Lowell’s work a vital boost) if Lowell conducts his procedure on Butler. Lowell agrees, and plans are made. But neither man knows that this breakthrough will come at a terrible price.

Scientific breakthroughs have meant that we can now test water to determine whether it’s safe and what particular toxins are or aren’t in it. And that means that companies and other entities are now accountable for what they put in local water. And municipalities are now accountable for the way they clean (or don’t) clean it. Carl Hiaasen takes a look at how water testing can be (mis)used in Skinny Dip, which features Charles ‘Chaz’ Perrone. On paper, anyway, he is a marine biologist. His real interest, though, is himself. So, he’s all too open to an ‘arrangement’ with agribusiness owner Samuel Johnson ‘Red’ Hammernut. It seems that Hammernut’s company has been accused of polluting the local water. He needs to prove that his company isn’t responsible or face huge fines or even worse. Perrone has developed a technique for making water samples appear clean and toxin-free, even if they aren’t. So, Hammernut hires Perrone to ‘prove’ that his company is not a polluter. When Perrone’s wife finds out what he’s doing, he decides that the only way to deal with that situation is to get rid of her. He tries to do just that by throwing her overboard during a cruise. But Joey survives, and that’s just the beginning of Chaz Perrone’s problems…

And then there’s Christine Poulson’s Katie Flanagan. She is a laboratory researcher whom we meet in Deep Water. In that novel, the laboratory she works for is on the point of a breakthrough control for obesity. But a suspicious death, and other troubling events raise some real questions. And, when Katie looks into them, she finds herself and her career in real danger. In Cold, Cold Heart, she travels to Antarctica, grasping at an opportunity to do research there in an attempt to salvage her career. There, she gets involved in a mystery that ties a murder on that outpost with some hidden secrets that a patent lawyer, David Marchmont, discovers. In both of these novels, there are high-stakes scientific breakthroughs that could make a major difference in people’s lives. But they’re also both risky and in high demand. And that can spell trouble…

That’s the thing about scientific breakthroughs. They move our lives forward, and they have saved millions of lives. But that doesn’t mean they have no consequences…

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Thomas Dolby.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Carl Hiaasen, Christine Poulson, Peter Høeg, Robin Cook

But Safety Comes First!*

For many years, there’ve been laws and policies that are designed to protect consumers. Whether they sell food, homes, or just about anything else, companies are usually bound by legal requirements to make their products and services safe. It wasn’t always that way, of course. But today, most countries require that consumers be protected from danger and fraud. And there are watchdog groups, government agencies, and others whose job it is to make sure that happens.

Consumer protection plays a big role in people’s lives. Whenever you buy food, take medication, apply for a loan, or get in your car, the company providing the product or service is supposed to take measures to assure your safety. It doesn’t always happen, but that’s supposed to be the goal. Consumer protection is an issue in crime fiction, too. There are all sorts of possibilities for an author when you’ve got companies who are supposed to take safety measures (that may be costly), and consumers who may be at risk (or may be trying to take advantage of a company).

In Donna Leon’s Through a Glass, Darkly, for instance, we are introduced to activist Marco Ribetti. He and his group claim that Venice’s famous glass blowing factories are disposing of toxic waste by dumping it into the local water supply. One of those factories is owned by Ribetti’s father-in-law, Giovanni de Cal. But that doesn’t stop him trying to raise consumer awareness and force the factories to stop what they’re doing. When he is arrested at one protest, Ribetti asks his friend, Ispettore Lorenzo Vianello, to help him. Vianello agrees, and gets his boss, Commissario Guido Brunetti, to help arrange for Ribetti’s release. Not long afterwards, there’s a death at de Cal’s factory. Giorgio Tassini, the night watchman, is killed in what looks at first like a terrible accident. But Brunetti and his team find that this death was no accident. Someone is willing to go to great lengths to protect an industry’s secrets.

There’s a similar theme in Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip. Samuel Johnson ‘Red’ Hammernut is the owner of a Florida agribusiness. Consumer protection laws prevent him from legally adding toxins to the local water supply. But that doesn’t stop him. Still, he doesn’t want to deal with lawsuits, bad publicity, and so on. So, he hires self-styled marine biologist Charles ‘Chaz’ Perrone to ensure that water samples taken from the company’s property show no toxins. Perrone, who hasn’t much in the way of scruples, has developed a technique that ‘cleans’ water samples, so that even if the water isn’t safe, the sample won’t show it. When his wife, Joey, begins to suspect what he’s doing, he decides that he’ll have to kill her. So, he takes her on what he pretends is an anniversary cruise. During the trip, he throws her overboard. The only thing is, Joey is a former champion swimmer. So, she survives and is rescued. And that’s just the beginning of Chaz’ problems…

Robin Cook’s medical thriller Toxin features Dr. Kim Reggis, a well-known cardiac surgeon. One evening, he takes his daughter, Becky, to eat at a local fast-food place called The Onion Ring. When she contracts an infection from a particularly virulent strain of E. Coli bacteria, Reggis and his estranged wife, Tracy, rush her to the hospital where he works. The staff do everything they can, but Becky dies. Devastated by his daughter’s death, Reggis is determined to find out how the bacteria got into the supply of meat that The Onion Ring uses for its food. After all, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is supposed to be inspecting the meat that leaves The Onion Ring’s supplier, as per the law. He starts asking questions, and before long, finds far greater danger than he thought he would find.

There’s a different sort of consumer protection discussed in Paddy Richardson’s Cross Fingers. In one plot thread, Wellington journalist Rebecca Thorne is working on an exposé of dubious land developer Denny Graham. If Thorne’s facts are right, he’s been luring investors with promises of luxury homes and a dream retirement. But when Thorne visits one of those ‘luxury estates,’ she finds that the land is completely undeveloped. She also finds that several people have lost their savings in this scheme. There are laws intended to protect consumers from this kind of fraud. But most people are not exactly happy about admitting they’ve been duped, so Thorne has a lot of trouble getting people to talk to her. What’s more, Graham has a lot of influence, so there’s also intimidation involved. Then, Thorne’s boss pulls her away from that story and asks her to do another. The 30th anniversary of South Africa’s very controversial rugby tour of New Zealand is coming up, and Thorne’s boss wants her to find a new angle on that story. At first, she resists, thinking that there’s not much new to say. Besides, she wants to follow the Denny Graham story as far as it will go. But then, she learns of an unsolved murder that took place after one of the long-ago rugby matches…

There’s a different view of consumer protection in Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police, which introduces his sleuth, Benoît ‘Bruno’ Courrèges. In one sub-plot of the novel, the people of the town of St. Denis, where Bruno is based, are faced with a problem. They’ve been holding their regular Market Day for a very long time. And a big part of Market Day is the delicious food on offer. Understandably, it’s important that the food be carefully prepared and served, so that no-one is sickened. And there are EU health inspectors who are responsible for visiting Market Day operations to be sure that everything is done according to the EU health code. And therein lies the problem. The residents don’t want outsiders coming in to tell them how to do what they’ve been doing for generations.  The EU, meanwhile, insists that health regulations be followed. Bruno has to find a way to keep the people he serves from causing trouble, while at the same time support their pride in what they do. And he has a very clever way of doing that.

In general, we’re probably a lot safer because of consumer protection efforts. And most people don’t want polluted water, bacteria-infested food, or fraudulent loans. So, it’s little wonder that consumer protection is a part of our lives – and a part of our crime fiction.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Red Lights Flash’s For Your Safety.

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Filed under Carl Hiaasen, Donna Leon, Martin Walker, Paddy Richardson, Robin Cook

The Loner*

Not everyone is comfortable being around others. For a variety of reasons, some people are reclusive. Recluses are often regarded as eccentric, to say the least. And some recluses are. Even when they’re not, though, they’re often interesting people with their own unique way of looking at life.

And that can make them appealing characters in novels. Authors can use such characters to add leaven to a story, to create plot points, and more. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that we see reclusive characters in crime fiction. There are a number of them in the genre; one post won’t do justice to them. But here are a few examples.

In Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, we are introduced to Martin Canning. He is a mystery novelist who’s, in his way, much more comfortable in the imaginary world he’s created for his sleuth than in the everyday, real-life world. In that sense, he is reclusive. But he is also wise enough to know that readers want to make connections with authors. So, he allows his literary agent to persuade him to participate in a panel at the Edinburgh Arts Festival. One afternoon while he’s in Edinburgh, Canning is waiting to get tickets for a lunchtime radio comedy show. That’s when he witnesses a car accident. A blue Honda hits a silver Peugeot from behind, and the two drivers get out of their cars. During the ensuing argument, the Honda driver brandishes a bat, attacking the Peugeot driver. By instinct, Canning throws his computer case at the Honda driver, saving the other man’s life. Out of a sense of obligation, Canning accompanies the Peugeot driver, whose name is Paul Bradley, to a local hospital. That act draws the ordinarily reclusive Canning into a web of fraud and murder.

Janice MacDonald’s Another Margaret features her sleuth, Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig. As this novel begins, Craig is a sessional lecturer who’s working at Grant McEwan University in Edmonton. When her friend, Denise Wolff, asks Craig to help put together an alumni reunion event for the University of Alberta (where Craig got her M.A.), Craig agrees. Then, she learns that a new novel, Seven Bird Saga, is about to be released. The author is the extremely reclusive and enigmatic Margaret Ahlers. And that’s when Craig starts to get concerned. She did her thesis on Ahlers and knows that the author died years earlier. So, is this new book a recently-discovered manuscript (unlikely, but possible)? Or did someone else write the book? If so, who? As the story goes on, we learn more about Craig’s thesis and her search for the truth about Ahlers. As the time for the alumni even gets closer, Craig becomes more and more convinced that someone who will be attending knows more than it seems about Ahlers and the new book and could pose a real threat to her. In the end, Craig learns the truth about the new book, but not before there’s a murder.

Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip introduces readers to Mick Stranahan, former investigator for Florida’s Attorney General. He’s quite reclusive now, living on a deserted island. His life of solitude is interrupted when he happens to be out in his boat, and sees a young woman in the water, struggling with exhaustion. She is Joey Perrone, whose husband, Chaz, threw her overboard during a cruise of the Everglades. What Chaz forgot, though, is that Joey is a former champion swimmer. She’s survived in the water because of her skills, but she’s near the end of her strength. Stranahan rescues her, and Joey soon recovers. When she does, she wants to find out why her husband tried to kill her. So, she and Stranahan concoct a plan to unsettle Chaz. It works, and Chaz soon comes to the attention of police detective Karl Rolvaag, who’s trying to solve Joey’s disappearance. If he’s going to avoid arrest, Chaz is going to have to stay one step ahead of his wife and of Rolvaag.

In Deborah Johnson’s The Secret of Magic, idealistic young attorney Regina Robichard is working for the NAACP in New York City. One day, the NAACP gets a letter from a reclusive author, M.P. Calhoun. The letter alleges that a black veteran named Joe Howard Wilson was murdered, and it’s clear that Calhoun wants this death investigated. Robichard’s interest is piqued, especially since Calhoun wrote one of her best-loved books from childhood. So, she makes the trip to Revere, Mississippi, where Calhoun lives, and where the murder took place. When Robichard arrives, and starts asking questions, she learns that things aren’t as they seem. To find the answers, she’s going to have to navigate the complicated social ‘rules’ of this small town, and that isn’t going to be easy. Among other things, it’s interesting to see Calhoun’s role in the novel, considering how reclusive this author is.

And then there’s Virginia Duigan’s The Precipice. Former school principal Thea Farmer has decided to retire and have a dream home built in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. She’s purposely chosen the location to be away from everything, as she doesn’t like to be around people very much. Everything changes when bad luck and poor decision-making force her to give up that dream property and settle for the house next door, a place she calls ‘the hovel.’ To make matters worse, Frank Campbell and Ellice Carrington buy the home that Farmer still thinks of as hers, and they move in. The reclusive Farmer doesn’t want anyone living that close, especially not in that home, so she’s inclined to do everything she can to avoid these new people. That proves impossible when Campbell’s niece, Kim, comes to live with him. Against all odds, Farmer forms an awkward sort of friendship with the girl and becomes concerned when she begins to think that she’s not being given an appropriate home. When the police won’t do anything about it, Farmer makes her own plans.

There may be any number of reasons for which someone might not want to be around others. And, in a story, those reasons can make for interesting character development. They can add plot points, too. Which have stayed with you?

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Neil Young.

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Filed under Carl Hiaasen, Deborah Johnson, Janice MacDonald, Kate Atkinson, Virginia Duigan

If I Were a Rich Man*

There’s plenty of excitement in a lot of US states this week. The Mega Millions lottery is now up to over US$450 million, and likely to grow before Tuesday’s drawing. Even people who don’t usually play the lottery are risking money on tickets, and there are office pools and other group efforts. Everybody wants to win.

And that’s not surprising. Many of us imagine what it might be like to be rich. Some even dream of it. It can be fun to think about what you’d do with all of that money. We all know in our logical minds that the chances of getting really rich aren’t great. And we all know in our logical minds that being very rich doesn’t mean a person has no challenges, problems, sorrows, or even tragedies. But that doesn’t stop us dreaming of that kind of wealth, at least a little.

There are plenty of crime-fictional characters who dream of it, too. And sometimes, that can get them into a lot of trouble. And even when it doesn’t, it can certainly complicate their lives. Like a lot of real-life people, though, that doesn’t stop their dreaming.

In Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, for instance, we are introduced to Simon Doyle. When we first meet him, he’s engaged to Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ de Bellefort. Neither has money, but they are in love. Then, Simon loses his job and needs another, so that he and Jackie can marry. Fortunately, Jackie’s good friend, Linnet Ridgeway, is extremely wealthy, and in need of a land agent to manage her property. Jackie convinces Linnet to give Simon a try as land agent, and Linnet agrees. Then, the unexpected happens: Linnet falls in love with Simon. He’s attracted to her, too, and especially to the life of luxury and money that she lives. In fact, he’s always wanted the ‘rich life.’ They marry and plan a honeymoon trip to the Middle East. Jackie follows them everywhere, which greatly unsettles the couple. So, they try to evade her by taking a sudden trip up the Nile. Hercule Poirot is on the same cruise, so he is present when Jackie unexpectedly turns up on the boat. He is also present the second night of the cruise, when Linnet is shot and killed. At first, Jackie is the most logical suspect. But she has a proven alibi, so she cannot be the murderer. Simon, too, has a corroborated alibi. This means that Poirot has to look elsewhere for the killer.

Lawrence Sanders’ The Anderson Tapes is the story of John ‘Duke’ Anderson. He’s been recently released from prison, and is now on the ‘straight and narrow,’ working at a print company. One night, though, he gets the chance to visit a very posh Manhattan apartment building. When he sees the wealth and luxury there, he gets the idea of having a lot of that money for his own. So, he creates a plan to rob the entire building. He won’t be able to do the job on his own, so he makes arrangements with people he knows to get weapons, assistance, materials, and so on. The only thing is, the FBI and other authorities have been recording those people for reasons of their own. This means they have access to all of Anderson’s plans. The question becomes: will the authorities see this, and stop the heist before it happens, and people get hurt?

In Patricia Melo’s The Body Snatcher, a São Paulo salesman and former telemarketer moves to Corumbá when a tragedy ends his job. He settles in and forms a relationship with Sulamita, who is an administrative assistant to the police. One day, he happens to witness a small plane crash into a nearby river. By the time he arrives, it’s too late to save the pilot. But he sees that the pilot has left behind a backpack and a watch.  The narrator takes those things, and later discovers that the backpack is filled with cocaine. Instead of reporting it all to the police, the narrator dreams of what it would be like to have all of the money that would come from selling the cocaine. It would be just a one-time thing – just enough to set him and Sulamita up for life. His friend Moacir lives nearby, and seems to know the right people, so the two go into business. Moacir makes the connections, and the arrangements are made. But that turns out to be only the start of real trouble for both men, and for Sulamita. They get drawn into a mess involving ruthless drugs smugglers and end up in much more trouble than they imagined.

Carl Hiaasen’s Lucky You is the story of Joylayne Lucks. She’s an avid environmentalist who dreams of having a lot of money so that she can use it to protect the land. She gets her chance when she buys a winning lottery ticket. The prize is US$14 million, and she plans to use it to buy a piece of land and keep it out of developers’ hands. Then, the ticket is stolen by a Nazi group that wants to use the money to fund a militia. Features writer Tom Krone has been assigned by the Register to do a piece on Lucks and her big win. Instead, he finds himself drawn into a plot to get the ticket back.

And then there’s Vincent Naylor, whom we meet in Gene Kerrigan’s The Rage. He’s recently been released from prison, where he learned one important lesson: don’t take any more risks unless the payoff is worth it. Naylor meets up with his girlfriend, Michelle Flood, his brother, Noel, and a few other people, and they concoct a plan. They’re all dreaming of big money – money that will let them get out of their humdrum lives. So, they decide to pull of a heist. The target is an armored car company called Protectica, that transfers cash among local banks. The details are planned, and the heist goes off. Then, things take a tragic turn, and everything changes for the group.

Lots of us dream, however idly, of what it’d be like to be extremely wealthy. It does have appeal, doesn’t it? That’s why I have my lottery ticket. On Tuesday, I’m going to win that pot. And when I do, I’ll need a lot of support. I’ll certainly need legal counsel – from several different countries, too, since I plan international philanthropy as well as careful investments. Some of my plans also include academic bursaries and endowments, so I’d be glad of help from people in academia, too. I’ll need an IT person who can help set up safe communication and file transfer among the people who work for me. I’m going to also need people with NGO and other philanthropy backgrounds to help me set up the groups I want to set up. And of course, all of this has to be released to the public in the right way. So, I’ll need someone with a background in journalism, and in fashion and public image, to help me make the right impression. I know I’ll need other support, too. And, of course, if these people also had an interest in books and reading, well, that would be all to the good. Do you happen to know anyone??

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Carl Hiaasen, Gene Kerrigan, Lawrence Sanders, Patricia Melo

But the Sailors Threw Him Overboard*

Most killers don’t want to be caught. So, they do whatever they can to hide the evidence. And that means they often have to do something about the body of the person they’ve killed. After all, with today’s technology, bodies often contain evidence that points to the murderer.

One way to deal with this, if you’re a killer (fictional only, of course!) is to commit the murder on board a boat or ship, so the victim, or at least the victim’s body, can go overboard. Of course, a lot of things have to fall into place for that sort of plan to work. But when it does, the murderer has a solid chance to get away with the crime. So, it’s little wonder that we see this in a lot of crime fiction. Here are just a few examples; I know you’ll think of more than I could.

In Patricia Wentworth’s Grey Mask, we are introduced to Margot Standing, an ingenuous and immature young woman whose very wealthy father, Edward, went overboard and was lost at sea. She now stands to inherit a fortune. But then, it comes out that she may not be eligible to inherit, and that her cousin, Egbert, may be the heir. The papers that would prove Edward Standing’s intent have disappeared, so there’s no easy way to determine who will get the money. Egbert suggests that he and Margot marry, but she refuses. When he insists, she refuses again, and leaves home. Unbeknownst to her, this puts her in danger from a gang led by a man named Grey Mask. They want to get rid of her, so they can get her money. Margot happens to meet Margaret Langton, who’s already mixed up with Grey Mask and his gang (‘though not in the obvious way). Margaret takes pity on the younger woman, and takes her in. And in the end, Margaret and her fiancé, Charles Moray, find a way to thwart Grey Mask.

Carl Hiaasen’s Skinny Dip introduces readers to Charles ‘Chaz’ Perrone. He’s a marine scientist (at least nominally) who’s found a way to make water samples seem clear, even if they are tainted. His employer, Samuel Johnson ‘Red’ Hammernut, finds that very useful; he owns an agri-business that pollutes the water, and has no interest in changing what he does, or in being cited by the authorities. When Chaz begins to suspect that his wife, Joey, has found out what he’s doing, he decides to solve his problem. He takes Joey on what he tells her is an anniversary present: a cruise of the Everglades. While they’re on the water, he throws her overboard. He hasn’t counted on the fact that Joey is a former competitive swimmer, though. Instead of dying, she survives and is saved by former police offer Mick Stranahan. With Mick’s help, Joey plans to make Chaz pay for what he did by ‘haunting’ him. And, as Chaz gets more and more unsettled by the things Joey does, Hammernut gets more and more concerned about their arrangement. And Broward County police detective Karl Rolvaag gets more and more suspicious of Chaz…

Jussi Adler-Olsen introduces his protagonist, Copenhagen police detective Carl Mørck, in Mercy (AKA The Keeper of Lost Causes. In that novel, Mørck returns to duty after being wounded in a line-of-duty shooting incident. He’s always been difficult to work with, but the trauma of what he’s been through has made dealing with him impossible. So, he is transferred to the newly-created ‘Department Q,’ which is dedicated to ‘cases of special interest’ (cold cases). It’s a move to appease members of the public and the government who believe that the police aren’t doing enough to solve crimes. The first case that Mørck and his new assistant, Hafaz al-Assad take on is the five-year-old disappearance of promising politician Merete Lynnggard. At the time she went missing, everyone thought she went overboard in a terrible ferry accident. But Mørck and Assad begin to suspect otherwise. If they’re right, and she is still alive, there may be very little time left to find her. So, the two sleuths are under a great deal of pressure as they try to find out what really happened.

Mark Douglas-Home’s The Sea Detective features Edinburgh oceanographer and Ph.D. Candidate Caladh ‘Cal’ McGill. His special interest is wave patterns, and he’s working on them for his thesis. In one plot thread of this novel, he’s also got a project of his own underway. Many years earlier, McGill’s grandfather, Uilliam, was on a fishing trip when he disappeared. The official account was that he went overboard accidentally, and McGill wants to know the truth about what happened. So, he’s using his knowledge of wave patterns to try to find out where his grandfather might have washed up, if he did. The search for the truth leads McGill to some dark truths about the island community where his grandparents lived at the time of the disappearance.

And then there’s Jonothan Cullinane’s Red Herring. It’s 1951 in Auckland, and PI Johnny Molloy is hired to find a man called O’Phelan. He takes the case and begins his search. Soon enough, he discovers that his quarry died in an overboard accident. But something doesn’t seem right about the incident, and Molloy starts to suspect it was a case of murder. What he doesn’t know at first, though, is that this death is related to a web of conspiracy, political intrigue, and ‘backroom deals.’ The closer Molloy gets to the truth about O’Phelan, the more dangerous the case becomes for him.

Seas and oceans can be very convenient places, if I may put it that way, for fictional murderers to hide their crimes. So it’s little wonder we see so many overboard ‘accidents’ in crime fiction. These are only a few. Your turn.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband’s Walk the Walk.

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Filed under Carl Hiaasen, Jonothan Cullinane, Jussi Adler-Olsen, Mark Douglas-Home, Patricia Wentworth