Category Archives: Harry Bingham

I Like the Way You Talk*

The way we speak says a lot about us. That’s patently obvious, but it has a lot of implications for an author. Speaking patterns and interactions with others can give the reader information about a character’s age group, social class, level of education, and more. It can also reveal some interesting information about the relationship between characters. It’s little wonder, then, that the way characters speak to each other can show-not-tell what’s going on in a story. This is a crime fiction blog, so the examples I’ve thought of are all from crime novels. But it really does apply no matter what sort of fiction one reads.

For instance, in Agatha Christie’s Lord Edgware Dies, Hercule Poirot investigates the stabbing murder of the Fourth Baron Edgware. The victim’s wife, Jane Wilkinson, is the most likely suspect for a number of reasons. But she says she was at a dinner party in another part of London on the night of the murder. And there are twelve people ready to swear that she was there. So, Poirot and Chief Inspector Japp have to look elsewhere for the killer. Poirot has more than one conversation with Jane Wilkinson. Here’s a bit of one of them:
 

‘‘M. Poirot, I want to talk to you. I must talk to you.’
‘But certainly, Madame, will you not sit down?’
‘No, no, not here. I want to talk to you privately. We’ll go right upstairs to my suite.’’
 

Just from these few lines, it’s clear that Jane Wilkinson has a high social position, and is accustomed to getting her way. While she may not look down on Poirot, she certainly doesn’t see him as a social superior. By way of contrast, here’s a tiny bit of a conversation that Poirot has with Jane’s servant, Ellis.
 

‘‘Sit here, will you not, Mademoiselle – Ellis, I think?’
‘Yes, sir, Ellis.’’
‘To begin with, Miss Ellis, you have been with Lady Edgware how long?
‘Three years, sir.’’
 

Here, it’s clear that Ellis speaks to Poirot as a social superior. Christie fans know that Poirot has a way of making members of the ‘serving class’ comfortable, and that’s what happens here. It turns out Ellis provides very helpful information.

In Walther Mosley’s A Red Death, we are introduced to Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins. In this novel, we learn that he owns three apartment buildings, including the one in which he lives. He was able to purchase them with money from an investigation he did (see Devil in a Blue Dress for the details). For several reasons, he prefers to keep his identity as the owner of the building a secret, and masquerades as the maintenance man/janitor. The one man who does know Easy’s secret is the man who manages the building, a man named Mofass. He knows which side of his bread’s buttered, so to speak, so he speaks accordingly. Here’s the way he speaks to a tenant who’s late with the rent:
 

‘‘I’ll be back on Saturday, and if you ain’t got the money, you better be gone!’’
 

A moment later, he sees Easy, with whom he made plans to have lunch:
 

‘‘Are you ready to leave, Mr. Rawlins?’’
 

On the one hand, Mofass’ speech patterns consistently reflect his background, social class, and the like. But his interactions also show his relationship to the tenants and to Rawlins. These particular interactions aren’t, admittedly, closely related to the main plot. But they show the way that dialogue and interactions show character.

Fans of Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Salvo Montalbano series will know that one of his friends is Nicolò Zito, a TV journalist who works at Vigatà’s Free Channel. The two help one another when the situation calls for it, and they have a comfortable relationship. This is clear from a conversation they have in The Shape of Water. In that novel, Montalbano is investigating the death of up-and-coming politician Silvio Luparello. Here’s just a bit of a conversation he has with Zito, during which he chides his friend for not being more hard-hitting in the station’s covering of Luparello’s death:
 

‘‘…and you guys, instead of seizing the moment for all it’s worth, you all toe the line and cast a veil of mercy over how he died.’
‘We’re not really in the habit of taking advantage of such things.’
Montalbano started laughing.
‘Would you do me a favor, Nicolò? Would you and everyone else at the Free Channel please go f*** yourselves?’
Zito started laughing in turn.’

 

It’s easy to see the two men have a comfortable relationship, and that they’ve known each other for some time.

Interactions can also be used to show age and generation differences. We see that, for instance, in James W. Fuerst’s Huge. In that novel, twelve-year-old Eugene ‘Huge’ Smalls is having trouble in school, although he’s extremely intelligent. He has difficulty with anger management, and he’s socially awkward. What he really wants is to be a detective, just like Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. He gets his chance when his grandmother hires him to find out who defaced the sign at the elder care facility where she lives. Here’s jus a tiny bit of one of their conversations:
 
‘‘Of course…if you can’t give me your word that you’ll act like a professional and conduct yourself like a gentleman, then maybe you’re not ready yet.’’…
‘Okay, Toots, you got yourself a deal.’…
‘Promise.’
‘Christ, Lady, you win. I promise…But let’s get one thing straight: the name’s Huge.’
She started to laugh and then covered her mouth. ‘I beg your pardon, Huge. As for our arrangement, can I trust you to carry it out in the strictest confidence?’’
 

Here, we see the generational difference between Huge and his grandmother. We also see that they have a close relationship. Huge’s grandmother is one of the few people who understand his desire to be a detective.

And then there’s Harry Bingham’s Talking to the Dead, which introduces Cardiff Detective Constable (DC) Fiona Griffiths. Fiona has several personal and mental health issues she deals with, but she is, for the most part, functional. And she knows she has to function as part of a team if she’s going to do her job. Still, she can be prickly, and she affects a bad temper at times, mostly to keep people from getting too close. Here’s a bit of a conversation she has with a workmate, Detective Sergeant (DS) David Brydon. They’re talking about the eye-glazing task of compiling financial evidence against former police officer named Brian Penry, who’s suspected of illegal activity.
 

‘‘He’ll plead guilty’ [Brydon]
‘I know he’ll plead guilty.’
‘Got to be done, though.’
‘Ah, yes, forgot it was State the Obvious Day. Sorry.’’
 

This interaction shows both the camaraderie between the two, and the fact that Fiona prefers to keep people at a distance.

And that’s the thing about dialogue and interactions in stories. They can reveal an awful lot about characters, relationships, and more. Interactions can reveal clues, too, but that’s the topic for another post, I think…

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Susie Q.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Andrea Camilleri, Harry Bingham, James W. Fuerst, Walter Mosley

I Position My Precious Assortment of Pencils and Powders and Paint*

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it, but the cosmetics industry is doing very well. Even ‘drugstore’ cosmetics aren’t cheap, and that’s to say nothing of the more upmarket brands. And let’s not even talk about good nail salons and the like. Let’s face it; looking good comes at a price. It takes time, too.

But it’s awfully popular. From organic skin preparations, to perfume, to myriad other things, there’s quite a market for makeup. Flip open any magazine, paper or online, and you’ll find all sorts of cosmetics ads. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we see cosmetics in crime fiction, too. There are all sorts of examples out there; here are just a few.

In Agatha Christie’s After the Funeral (AKA Funerals Are Fatal), we are introduced to Susan Banks. When her wealthy Uncle Richard Abernethie dies, she stands to inherit quite a bit of money. And for her, this offers the opportunity to start her own enterprise – a cosmetics and beauty business. Her husband, Greg, works in a chemist’s shop, so the plan is to also have a laboratory for special beauty preparations. It’s a major undertaking, so she’s eager for her inheritance. And that’s what makes her a ‘person of interest’ when Uncle Richard dies. At first, everyone’s prepared to say that the death was natural – sudden, but not unexpected. But then, at the gathering after the funeral, Susan’s Aunt Cora Lansquenet says that it was murder. Everyone hushes her, but privately, everyone also begins to wonder. And then, when Cora herself is murdered the next day, everyone is sure she was right. The family lawyer, Mr. Entwhistle, asks Hercule Poirot to investigate, and he agrees. He finds that Susan Banks is by no means the only one who might have wanted to kill Abernethie and his sister.

In Harry Bingham’s Talking to the Dead, we are introduced to Detective Constable (DC) Fiona Griffiths, of the Cardiff Police. She’s tapped to join a murder investigation team when the bodies of Nancy Mancini and her six-year-old daughter, April are found in their apartment. The victim was an occasional sex worker, and at first, the evidence suggests that she might have been murdered by a client. But then, there’s another death. And another. It’s now clear that something very much more is going on than it seems on the surface. And it turns out that the closer Fiona gets to the truth, the darker that truth turns out to be. Fiona battled mental illness as a teenager; and, although she doesn’t wallow in it, she finds it hard to live on what she calls ‘Planet Normal.’ And part of that ‘planet’ is the world of dating. At one point in the novel, she does begin to date someone, and it’s interesting to see how she thinks about the way girlfriends are ‘supposed to’ dress, wear makeup, and so on when they’re on dates.

Elizabeth J. Duncan’s Penny Brannigan is the owner of a nail salon – the Happy Hands Nail Care shop – in the Welsh town of Llanelen. In The Cold Light of Mourning, she gets involved in a case of murder when a young bride, Meg Wynne Thompson, goes missing and is later found dead. As it turns out, Penny was possibly the last person (other than the killer) to see the victim alive. Meg Wynne had come to the shop to have her nails done on the morning of her wedding. She left the shop afterwards, and never returned. So, although Penny isn’t really considered a suspect, her information is important. And she is curious about what happened. The police, in the forms of Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Gareth Davies, and Detective Sergeant (DS) Bethan Morgan are the official investigators. In her own way, Penny investigates, too. Each in a different way, they get to the truth. Many parts of the story are told from Penny’s point of view, so we learn what pride she takes in doing nails. She knows that having beautiful-looking hands and nails makes a difference, and she always works with her clients to choose exactly the right shade for whatever the occasion may be. It’s a lot more than just a paycheck for her.

Steph Avery’s Our Trespasses is the story of teenage sisters Madeline ‘Midge’ and Bridget ‘Bridie’ Dolan. It’s East London, 1966, a time of Mods, Rockers, and all sorts of experimentation. The Dolan sisters have been sheltered most of their lives, raised in a ‘good’ home. But that doesn’t mean they’re not curious about the world around them. They read the fashion and popular culture magazines and want to be a part of it all. One Friday night, they persuade their mother, Eileen, to let them go to the Palais Royale to dance. Her one condition is that their cousin, Jimmy, take them and then bring them home. Jimmy is ‘cool,’ so the sisters agree.  They choose their clothes and makeup carefully, as they want to make a good impression. Then, they show their mother:
 

‘‘My, but you two are a pair of beauties…’
‘You don’t think the makeup’s too much, Mam?’ Bridie, still uncertain.
‘It’s no more than I used to wear. We all wanted to look like Joan Crawford when I was your age and when I look at pictures of me, Sweet Baby Jesus, I look like a painted doll. It makes you look bonny – not that you need it, but no, it’s not too much.’’
 

With that approval, the girls go to the dance. Later that night, a tragedy occurs that will change both of their lives.

And then there’s Alan Bradley’s The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which introduces his sleuth, eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce. She lives in the small, 1950s English village of Bishop’s Lacey with her father and her two older sisters, Ophelia ‘Feely’ and Daphne ‘Daffy. They’re interested in makeup, clothes, and boys. Flavia, on the other hand, is interested in chemistry. In fact, she’s quite an accomplished chemist, especially for someone her age, and has a real passion for the subject. The main plot of this novel revolves around a stranger who visits the de Luce home and is found dead the next morning. But woven through the story is the ongoing sibling ‘war’ between Flavia and her sisters. They play nasty tricks on her, and she is not one to back away from a challenge. So, she comes up with a plan. She ‘borrows’ one of Feely’s lipsticks and injects it with poison ivy. But her trick ends up having an unexpected outcome…

Cosmetics and the beauty culture have been a part of life for thousands of years. So it’s no surprise that we see their impact in crime fiction, too. These are just a few examples. Your turn.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Jerry Herman’s A Little More Mascara.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Alan Bradley, Elizabeth J. Duncan, Harry Bingham, Steph Avery

Walk Away From it All*

An interesting comment exchange with crime writer and fellow blogger E. Michael Helms has got me thinking about crime-fictional situations where the sleuth is asked (or sometimes told forcefully (or worse)) not to investigate. That happens quite a lot in the genre, and it’s interesting to consider the many reasons why.

Obviously, the guilty party (or someone in league with the guilty party) wouldn’t want an investigation. I’m not really talking of those cases: the reason is patently clear. But there are other reasons, which can add a layer of interest and character development to a story.

In several of Agatha Christie’s stories, the sleuth is pressured not to investigate. For example, in Appointment With Death, Hercule Poirot is on a trip through the Middle East. Colonel Carbury asks Poirot’s help with a case he’s investigating. The Boynton family has been sightseeing in the area and took a trip to Petra. There, family matriarch Mrs. Boynton suddenly died of what looked at first like sudden heart failure. That wouldn’t be surprising, given her age and health. But it turns out that Mrs. Boynton was poisoned. Poirot starts to look into the case, and it’s not long before one of the characters asks him to let the matter go. The reason is that Mrs. Boynton was tyrannical and, as Poirot says, ‘a mental sadist.’ She kept her family so cowed that none of the members dared disagree with her on anything. It’s felt that the family have suffered enough, and that if one of them is guilty, this will just make things worse.

In A Dark-Adapted Eye, Ruth Rendell (as Barbara Vine) explores the complexities of family dynamics, among other things. The Longley family has always prided itself on being very ‘respectable.’ There’s been no scandal or cause for anyone to gossip. Then, journalist Daniel Stewart digs up a Longley family secret and decides to write a book about it. He contacts Faith Longley Severn to help him with the book, and she agrees. But it’s not going to be easy. Many years earlier, Faith’s aunt, Vera Longley Hilliard, was executed for murder. It was all kept very quiet, and no-one really wanted an investigation. To have the Longley name dragged through the mud like that would have been unthinkable. As the story goes on, we learn what really happened, and how the family dynamics played an important role in everything.

Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X offers another interesting reason people wouldn’t want a murder investigated. In that novel, Tokyo Inspector Shunpei Kusanagi investigates when Shinji Togashi is murdered. The most likely suspect is the victim’s ex-wife, Yasuko Hanaoka, and she certainly had motive. Togashi was abusive and had been harassing her again lately. But Kusanagi can’t find any real evidence to link her to the case. And she has an unbreakable alibi, so there seems no way to connect her to the murder. Kusanagi asks for help from an old college friend, Dr. Manabu ‘Galileo’ Yukawa, a physicist who sometimes consults with the police. Yakuwa discovers that a gifted math instructor named Tetsuya Ishigami lives next door to Hanaoka. He suspects that this man knows more than he is saying about the crime, but Ishigami holds firmly to what he claims. He corroborates Hanaoka’s alibi, and does everything he can to protect her, mostly because he is in love with her. He doesn’t want the case investigated, and he does what he can to keep the police from making progress.

Sometimes fictional characters don’t want cases investigated because they’re afraid of the consequences for themselves if they are. For example, in both Maureen Carter’s Working Girls, and Harry Bingham’s Talking to the Dead, the police are investigating cases of sex workers who’ve been murdered. As you would expect, the police want to talk to the victims’ friends and co-workers to try to find out who the killer is. That makes sense, as those people might know the victims well enough to help. But in both cases, those friends and co-workers (mostly other sex workers) do not want the police to investigate. It’s not because they don’t mourn their friend. And, in an ideal world, they’d want the killer brought to justice. But it’s not an ideal world, and these sex workers are afraid for themselves if the police investigate, since they’re mixed up with some dangerous people. So, they say as little as they can get away with saying.

And then there’s Paddy Richardson’s Traces of Red. Wellington journalist Rebecca Thorne has reached a sort of crossroads in her career. She’s well aware that there are younger, ‘hungry’ journalists out there who would be more than happy to supplant her. So, she’s looking for the story that will establish her at the top of New Zealand journalism. She thinks she finds that story when she hears of the case of Connor Bligh. He’s been in prison for years for the murders of his sister, Angela Dickson, her husband, Rowan, and their son, Sam. Their daughter, Katy, survived only because she wasn’t home at the time of the murders. Everyone’s assumed that Bligh was guilty, but now there are little pieces of evidence that suggest otherwise. If he is innocent, and he’s been wrongly imprisoned, this could be a major story. So, Thorne starts asking questions. Almost immediately there’s a lot of pressure on her not to investigate. Some of it comes from people who are convinced that Bligh is guilty. There are also those who don’t want people’s lives turned upside down. But Thorne persists, and finds herself getting much closer to the case than she thought – or than is good for her.

A murder investigation is a difficult, painful process, even for those who are not suspects (or criminals). So, it’s understandable that sometimes, people wouldn’t want an investigation to be carried out. This reality can add interest and tension to a story.

Thanks, Michael, for the inspiration. Folks, do visit Michael’s site, and his blog, and do try his ‘Mac’ McClellan mysteries. You won’t regret it.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Roland Kent LaVoie (AKA Lobo).

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Barbara Vine, Harry Bingham, Keigo Higashino, Maureen Carter, Paddy Richardson, Ruth Rendell

To Be Alive Again*

If you’ve ever read tales like Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, then you’ve encountered the plot structure that’s sometimes called Rebirth. This structure usually features a main character who falls under some sort of spell, enchantment, or other ill fortune, and is trapped, literally or metaphorically. When and if the character breaks free of the trap, she or he starts over. There are a lot of stories with this sort of plot structure, as it works well for fantasy, fairy tales, and so on.

But it’s also present in crime fiction. And it’s not hard to see why. There’s suspense (will the character be freed?) and tension. And it’s a flexible enough structure that it gives the author several possibilities for plot events and characters. There are plenty of examples out there; here are just a few to show you what I mean.

In Agatha Christie’s Appointment With Death, the American Boynton family is on a tour of the Middle East. This isn’t an ordinary family though (if there is such a thing). Mrs. Boynton, the matriarch, is malicious – she is described as a mental sadist – and keeps her family so cowed that no-one dares to oppose her. The rest of the family (two stepsons, a stepdaughter, and a daughter) have all suffered psychologically. In fact, the only family member who seems intact is Mrs. Boynton’s daughter-in-law, Nadine. Disaster strikes when the family pays a visit to the ancient city of Petra as a part of their Middle East tour. On the second day of that visit, Mrs. Boynton dies of what later turns out to be a deliberate overdose of digitalis. Colonel Carbury asks for help from Hercule Poirot, who is in the area, and Poirot looks into the matter. One on of the interesting scenes in the novel is what happens to the Boyntons once they are free of Mrs. Boynton’s influence. I won’t spoil the story, but the epilogue, which takes place five years after the events in the story, shows how the family members have blossomed, if you will.

Patricia Abbott’s Concrete Angel is the story of Eve Moran and, later, her daughter, Christine. Eve has always wanted to acquire and have, and she’s been willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants, including murder. Christine is born and raised in this atmosphere, and is caught in her mother’s dysfunctional web. And we see how that toxic environment impacts her. But then, she sees that her three-year-old brother, Ryan, is also beginning to be caught up in the same dysfunction. Christine is determined that Ryan will be freed from Eve’s influence; so, she decides to make a plan for both of them to escape. But that’s not going to be as easy as it may seem…

In Paddy Richardson’s Hunting Blind, we are introduced to Stephanie Anderson, a fledgling psychiatrist who lives and works in Dunedin. She gets a new patient, Elisabeth Clark, who at first is completely unwilling to work with her. Slowly, the two develop a rapport, and Elisabeth tells Stephanie about a horrible tragedy from her past. Years earlier, Elisabeth’s younger sister, Gracie, went missing. No trace of the child was ever found. This story sounds eerily like Stephanie’s own family history. Seventeen years earlier, Stephanie’s younger sister, Gemma, also disappeared and was never found. As she works with Elisabeth, Stephanie decides to lay her own ghosts to rest, and find the person who wrought so much havoc. So, she travels from Dunedin to her home town of Wanaka, where Gemma went missing. As Stephanie gets closer to the truth, she also finds herself slowly freeing herself of the tragedy that changed everything for her family. And we see how she starts again.

Harry Bingham’s Detective Constable (DC) (later, Detective Sergeant (DS)) Fiona Griffiths works for the Cardiff police. She’s good at what she does, and she’s learning over the course of the series to be even better. But she’s had to struggle. During adolescence, she had a severe mental illness that, in its way, trapped her. As she’s gone through the process of getting better, she’s slowly freed herself from that trap and started over. But it all still affects her. Among other things, this series shows that the process of rebirth, if you want to call it that, isn’t always immediate.

One of the main plot threads in Finn Bell’s Dead Lemons has to do with the rebirth, if you will, of the protagonist, also named Finn Bell. As the novel begins, Bell is at a crossroads in his life. His marriage is over, and a car crash has left him without the use of his legs. On a sort of whim, he buys a cottage in the tiny town of Riverton, on New Zealand’s South Island. He soon learns that a tragedy devastated the cottage’s former occupants, the Cotter family. In 1988, Emily and James Cotter’s daughter, Alice, disappeared. No trace of her was found, and although the police suspected brothers Darrell, Sean, and Archie Zoyl, there was never enough proof to keep them in jail. A year later, James Cotter also went missing. Bell finds himself intrigued by the mystery, and he’s had his own encounters with the Zoyl brothers. So, he starts to look into what really happened to the Cotters. That process, plus Murderball (wheelchair rugby) help Bell begin to free himself from the tragedies in his life, and start over.

The ‘rebirth’ plot structure allows for some really interesting character development. There’s also lots of opportunity for conflict, suspense, and plot points, too. And it’s got a long history in literature. These are just a few examples. Over to you.

ps. In case you’re not familiar with it, the ‘photo shows a perennial called the Bird of Paradise. The buds on the left are reborn every year and become that beautiful flower you see on the right.

 
 
 

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

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Finn Bell, Hans Christian Andersen, Harry Bingham, Paddy Richardson, Patricia Abbott

Everybody in the World Likes Chocolate*

Recently, FictionFan, at FictionFan’s Book Reviews, conducted an interesting scientific study of chocolate. Using the My Life in Books meme from Adam at Roof Beam Reader, Fiction Fan compared two sets of data. One set, collected before eating any chocolate, was an initial list of responses to the My Life in Books prompts. Then, FictionFan provided answers to the same prompts after eating chocolate. As you can clearly see from FictionFan’s answers, there was a definite positive effect of chocolate on mood.

Of course, any study ought to be replicated, if possible, in order to lend support to the results. So, I decided to do just that. Like FictionFan, I collected two sets of data: one was collected before eating chocolate, and the other after. My own data is presented below:

 

Prompts

Before Chocolate

After Chocolate

In high school, I was:

Among Thieves

In Like Flynn

People might be surprised (by):

The Colaba Conspiracy

[What] Harriet Said

I will never be:

You

Wife of the Gods

My fantasy job is:

Nunslinger

An Easy Thing

At the end of a long day, I need:

Burial Rites

A Jarful of Angels

I hate it when:

Days are Like Grass

Not a Creature Was [is] Stirring

Wish I had:

The Frozen Shroud

Greenlight

My family reunions are:

Murder and Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall

Above Suspicion

At a party, you’d find me with:

The Hidden Man

Ruby and the Blue Sky

I’ve never been to:

The Cemetery of Swallows

China Lake

A happy day includes:

Dead Lemons

Crystal Ball Persuasion

Motto I live by:

Can Anybody Help Me?

Happiness is Easy

On my bucket list is:

Talking to the Dead

The Dawn Patrol

In my next life, I want to have:

A Moment’s Silence

A Three-Pipe Problem

 

As you can see, chocolate also had a positive effect on my mood. Now, of course, this study is limited, as all studies are. For one thing, I made use of Belgian chocolates for this research. Other sources and types of chocolates would have to be studied to really confirm the hypothesis that chocolate enhances one’s mood. For another thing, FictionFan’s data and mine are only two iterations of this study. More researchers would be needed, to rule out effects based on any similarities between me and FictionFan (I mean, we are both crime fiction readers, etc..). There are other limitations, too, as any academician can tell you.

That said, though, I think it’s safe to say that this study certainly lends support to FictionFan’s conclusion that chocolate has mood-enhancing effects. Anyone else care to take part in this all-important research?

Thanks, FictionFan, for your groundbreaking study!

 
 
 

NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Soul Control’s Chocolate (Choco Choco).

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Filed under Babs Horton, Beryl Bainbridge, Christopher Abbey, Don Winslow, Edney Silvestre, Finn Bell, Gordon Ell, Hannah Dennison, Hannah Kent, Harry Bingham, Jane Haddam, Jean-Denis Bruet-Ferreol, John Clarkson, Julian Symons, Katherine Dewar, Kwei Quartey, Lynda La Plante, Meg Gardiner, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Rhys Bowen, Robin Blake, Sinéad Crowley, Stark Holborn, Sue Younger, Surender Mohan Pathak, Zoran Drvenkar