Category Archives: Martin Edwards

To the Backroom, the Alley, or the Trusty Woods*

In Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders, Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings are discussing what they would want for ‘the perfect crime.’ Poirot asks:
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‘‘If you could order a crime as one orders a dinner, what would you choose.’’
 
He and Hastings discuss the sort of crime (murder, of course!). Then, Hastings says,
 

‘‘Scene of the crime – well, what’s wrong with the good old library? Nothing like it for atmosphere.’’ 
 

Hastings has a point. Libraries can be very atmospheric places for scenes of crime or for discovering a body. And Christie uses the library to that effect, too, right, fans of The Body in the Library? When Colonel Arthur Bantry and his wife, Dolly, learn that the body of a young woman has been found in their library, they’re drawn into a strange case of multiple murder.

Of course, the library is by no means the only atmospheric place for a murder scene, or for leaving a body. The place the author chooses depends a lot on the story, the characters, and so on. And that place can add quite a lot of atmosphere, even creepiness, to a story.

For instance, if you’ve ever walked down a street at night, and happened to peek down an alley, you know how eerie that sort of place can be. And, in Martin Edwards’ All the Lonely People, that’s where the body of Liverpool attorney Harry Devlin’s ex-wife, Liz, is found. A few days before her death, she unexpectedly visits Devlin, and he hopes this means she might want to reconcile with him. That’s not her purpose, though. She says that she’s escaping her current lover, Mick Coghlin, and needs a place to stay for a few days. Devlin agrees, but the next night, she is stabbed. Devlin knows he isn’t guilty, but of course, he’s an obvious ‘person of interest.’ Along with wanting to clear his name, he wants to find out who killed Liz. So, he starts to ask questions. He finds that Liz’ life was a lot more complicated than he’d thought, and there are several possible suspects for her murder. There are plenty of other novels, too, in which bodies are found in alleys behind buildings, or between two buildings.

Woods can also be eerie, atmospheric places to find a body. For instance, in Martha Grimes’ The Anodyne Necklace, the body of Dora Binns is found in a wood near the village of Littlebourne. Inspector Richard Jury has to cancel his holiday plans and travel to Littlebourne to investigate. He and his friend, Melrose Plant, discover that the victim’s death is connected to a robbery, some missing jewels, and an attack on another resident of LIttlebourne. Fans of Ruth Rendell’s Simisola will know that the body of a young woman is found in wood near the town of Kingsmarkham. At first, Inspector Reg Wexford thinks it’s the body of Melanie Akande, who’s been missing for several days. It’s a different young woman, though, so now, Wexford and his team have two major cases on their hands.

Moors are also wild, often desolate places that can be very atmospheric places for murders and bodies. And Belinda Bauer makes use of that setting in Blacklands. That’s the story of twelve-year-old Steven Lamb, who lives with his working-class family in the Exmoor town of Shipcott. The family is haunted by the nineteen-year-old disappearance of Steven’s uncle, Billy Peters. It was always suspected that he was abducted and killed by a man named Arnold Avery, who’s currently in prison for other child murders. Steven has been searching for Billy’s body on the moor, hoping that finding it will help his family. But he has no idea exactly where the body is. Then, he gets the idea of contacting Avery to find out from him where Uncle Billy’s body is. He takes the chance and writes, and he and Avery start a correspondence that turns into a very dangerous game of cat-and-mouse.

Minette Walters’ The Ice House makes use of another very atmospheric sort of place for a body. In the novel, Chief Inspector George Walsh is assigned an eerie case. A gardener has discovered the decomposed body of a man in the ice house of remote Streech Grange. That’s the property of Phoebe Maybury, who lives there with two friends, Anne Cattrell and Diana Goode. Ten years ago, Phoebe’s husband, David, went missing, and never returned. Walsh investigated at the time, but there were no clues as to where the man might have gone. Now, it appears Maybury’s body might have been found. But there’s a question as to whether the body is Maybury’s. If it is, then one of the three women living at Streech Grange is very possibly guilty of murdering him. If it’s not, then who is the man? And is one of the women guilty?

There are plenty of other atmospheric, even creepy, places authors use as murder scenes or as places to ‘dump’ a body. And when those places are chosen well, they can add quite a lot of tension to a story. Which ones have stayed with you?

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Bob Seger’s Night Moves.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Belinda Bauer, Martha Grimes, Martin Edwards, Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell

And What a Time it Was*

The end of the Victorian Era didn’t, of course, mean the end of Victorian-Era beliefs, customs and so on. But there were some major changes just on the horizon, and, of course, World War I was only a little over a decade away.

It’s interesting to see how crime fiction from and about those first ten or so years of the 20th Century depicts that time. Just a few examples show what a time of transition it was. And that’s part of what makes it such a memorable time.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s later Sherlock Holmes stories highlight one important change, especially in the area of crime and its detection. As you’ll know, Holmes is a man of science. He brings that viewpoint to criminal investigation.  Fingerprint science was already being used by the time the 20th Century began. But the new century brought more developments in what came to be forensic science (more on that in a moment). In several ways, the later Holmes stories show the blend of more traditional Victorian views with emerging science.

The case of Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was executed for murder in 1910, shows the way in which forensic science was becoming more and more important in criminal cases. At the time that Crippen was arrested, tried and convicted of murdering his wife, Cora, forensic pathology was a new science. And Sir Bernard Spilsbury was one of the first pre-eminent forensic pathologists. Although he is associated most closely with the Crippen case (he gave evidence that showed the body found in Crippen’s home was Cora’s), Spilsbury was also connected with several other prominent cases of the time. So was Sir Sydney Smith, also a well-known medico-legal expert. His autobiography, Mostly Murder is, in my view, an interesting look at the times and at the developments in forensic science. Martin Edwards’ Dancing For the Hangman is a fictional account of the Crippen case, told from Crippen’s point of view. It, too, offers a fascinating look at the times.

Felicity Young’s Dr. Dorothy ‘Dody’ McCleland series begins in 1910 with The Anatomy of Death, as McCleland is returning from Edinburgh to London. She’s just qualified in forensic pathology, and now wants to work with Spilsbury in the Home Office. She settles into London, and soon becomes involved in the investigation of three deaths. All three of the victims were women who died during a suffrage march in Whitechapel. The march turned very ugly, and, along with the deaths, several women were wounded. McCleland finds that two of the victims’ deaths have straightforward explanations. But the third is more complicated, and McCleland soon suspects murder as a possibility. As she investigates, readers learn about the growing use of forensics during these pre-WW I years.

There’s also a close look at another major change of the time: the push for women’s suffrage and other women’s rights. Women already had the vote in New Zealand, but not yet in many other places. And there were several groups dedicated to changing that. There was also a push for women to be accepted as professionals. That’s one challenge, for instance, that McCleland faces in Young’s series.

Another novel that addresses some of these issues is Wendy James’ Out of the Silence: A Story of Love, Betrayal, Politics and Murder. This is the fictional retelling of the story of Maggie Heffernan, who was convicted of murdering her infant son in 1900 (she was nineteen at the time) and scheduled to be executed. As the story evolves, we learn that Maggie is from rural Victoria, where she meets Jack Hardy. They begin a secret romance, and end up becoming engaged, although Hardy insists on keeping the engagement secret until he can provide for a family. He then leaves to find work in New South Wales. Meanwhile, Maggie discovers she’s pregnant. She writes to Jack several times but gets no answer. She knows her own family will not accept her, so she moves to Melbourne and finds work in a Guest House. When baby Jacky is born, Maggie moves to a home for unwed mothers. Then, she learns that Jack is in Melbourne, so she goes to visit him. He rejects her utterly, calling her ‘crazy.’ With nowhere else to go, Maggie goes looking for lodging, but is turned away from six different places. That’s when the tragedy with Jacky occurs. Vera Goldstein (the first woman candidate for Parliament in the British Commonwealth) finds out about Maggie’s plight, and determines to free her. As she works towards that end, we learn about the fight in Australia for women’s suffrage (it was granted at the national level in 1902). We also see clearly the differences among social classes that still persisted after the end of the Victorian Era.

We also see that difference reflected in Marie Belloc Lowndes’ The Lodger. Ellen and Robert Bunting have recently retired from being ‘in service.’ Ellen was a lady’s maid, and her husband was a ‘gentleman’s gentleman.’ The Buntings are in real financial need, so they’ve had to open their home to lodgers. But Ellen Bunting, especially, is very particular about the sort of person she’ll have. She wants only the ‘right’ sort of people. One day, a man who calls himself Mr. Sleuth stops in, asking about rooms. He dresses well, and acts ‘like a gentleman.’ More to the point, he is well able to pay for his room. So, the Buntings welcome him. He’s eccentric and keeps very odd hours. But he’s a paying guest. And he’s not loud or otherwise ‘difficult.’ Little by little, though, the Buntings begin to be uneasy about him. There’s been a rash of murders committed by a killer who calls himself The Avenger, and the Buntings slowly come to wonder if their lodger has something to do with these deaths. Among other things, the story highlights social class distinctions. The Buntings are respectable ‘serving class’ people, who hold their ‘betters’ in high regard. This doesn’t mean they’re blind to the foibles of the people they’ve served. But they do respect those social barriers.

We also see social barriers in Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series. Murphy, an immigrant from Ireland, lives and works in New York City at the very beginning of the 20th Century. She’s a private investigator who inherited her business from her mentor. As she looks into her cases, she encounters members of several different social classes, from ‘sweatshop’ workers and tenement dwellers to those who live on estates. Society is changing (Murphy, for instance, is a woman pursuing what is very much a man’s career). And in New York, there is now a generation of people who started with very little and have made quite a lot of money. But there are still certain views, customs, and so on, that are distinctly Victorian.

And that’s the thing about those first ten years or so of the 20th Century. The Victorian Era was over, and no-one was quite sure what was coming. That time of change can make for a fascinating context for a novel or series.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends.

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Filed under Arthur Conan Doyle, Felicity Young, Marie Belloc Lowndes, Martin Edwards, Rhys Bowen, Sir Sydney Smith, Wendy James

But His Blood Runs Through My Instrument and His Song is in My Soul*

Crime-fictional sleuths get into the business for any number of reasons. And one of those reasons is that their father or mother was a detective. You might say these sleuths are legacies to their parents.

Sometimes that’s a good thing. It can give a detective an ‘in’ (e.g. ‘Oh, yeah, of course. Knew your dad.’). Sometimes it can be a burden, especially when the sleuth makes a mistake, or if the parent is or was under a cloud of suspicion. Either way, that connection to the past can add an interesting layer of character development. It can add tension to a plot, too.

In Agatha Christie’s The Clocks, we are introduced to Special Agent Colin Lamb. As the story begins, he’s searching for clues to the death of a colleague. Apparently, the dead man had uncovered evidence of a spy ring but was killed before he could name names. The clues that Lamb does have lead him to Wilbraham Crescent, a development in the town of Crowdean. Lamb’s trying to find the address he wants when a young woman runs out of one of the houses screaming. Lamb settles her as best he can, and then goes into the house. There, he finds the body of an unidentified man. He alerts the police, and inspector Richard Hardcastle takes the case. It’s an intriguing mystery, and Lamb thinks it might interest his father’s friend, Hercule Poirot. Poirot is, indeed interested – more than he admits at first – and he and Lamb work with Hardcastle to find out who the victim was and who killed him. It’s clear that Poirot has an affection for Lamb’s father, and it’s interesting to see that aspect of Lamb’s past as the story goes on.

In James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential, we are introduced to Edmund ‘Ed’ Exley. He’s become a member of the LAPD mostly because of the influence of his father, the beloved and revered Preston Exley. It’s Exley Senior’s dream that his son will rise to the very top of the LAPD, and he does everything he can, including pushing and prodding his son, to make that happen. It’s a real challenge for Exley Junior, as everyone in the police department knows his father. Still, he aims to please, and does work to ‘get to ahead.’ On Christmas Day, 1951, seven civilians are brutally attacked by members of the police department. A groundswell of public outrage forces an internal investigation, and that has consequences. Two years later, there’s another tragedy, this time a late-night shooting at the Nite Owl diner.  As it turns out, these two incidents are related, and Ed Exley’s drawn into both. As the story goes on, we see how Exley is impacted by having a father who’s well-known in the business.

Above Suspicion is the first of Lynda La Plante’s novels to feature Anna Travis. In the novel, she’s just been promoted to the rank of Detective Sergeant and has applied to join the Murder Squad at Queen’s Park, London. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) James Langton is looking for the right new person on the Murder Squad, and Travis’ résumé is impressive. It doesn’t hurt matters that Langton knew Travis’ father, Jack, who had a very good reputation on the police force. Travis misses her father, so she appreciates that Langton mentions him when they first meet. There’s not much time for sentimentality, though, because the Murder Squad has a difficult case on their hands. The body of seventeen-year-old Melissa Stephens has been discovered. In many ways, her murder resembles that of six other ‘cold case’ murders the team has. So, it could be the same killer. But there are some important differences. For one thing, the other victims were middle-aged, but Melissa was in her teens. For another, the other victims were sex workers, and Melissa wasn’t. Still, Langton believes they’re dealing with the same person. The team settles on a suspect, Alan Daniels. But that’s going to be a big problem. Daniels is a beloved television star who’s poised for real success in films. What’s more, he’s very wealthy and ‘connected,’ so the team will have to have convincing evidence if they’re to pursue the case. And there’s a possibility that they’re wrong, and the killer is someone else. Throughout the novel, we see the impact on Travis of being the daughter of a well-known and well-regarded police detective.

Cara Black’s Aimée Leduc inherited her Paris detective agency from her father. She grew up around his business, and, tragically, witnessed his murder. Since then, she and her business partner, René Friant, have run Leduc Detective together. In the first novel in this series, Murder in the Marais, Leduc and Friant get a case because of a connection to Leduc’s father. Soli Hecht visits the agency, saying that he needs Leduc’s help. At first, she refuses, but then he says,
 

‘‘I knew your father. An honorable man. He told me to come to you if I needed help.’’
 

That gives Leduc pause, and she hears Hecht out. It seems he wants her to decrypt a particular computer code and give the information she gets to a woman named Lili Stein. Leduc agrees, but by the time she finishes, Lili Stein has been murdered. Now, she gets drawn into a case of murder that is connected to another, long-ago murder.

There’s an interesting twist on this dynamic in Martin Edwards’ Lake District Series.  That series features Hannah Scarlett, who leads the Cumbria Constabulary’s Cold Case Review Team. Earlier in her career, she was mentored by Ben Kind, and they worked together on more than one case. His son, Daniel, has become an Oxford historian who’s taken a cottage in the Lake District. He knows Scarlett, because of the connection with his father, and she’s able to shed some light on his father’s professional career. Each in a slightly different way, Scarlett and Kind work together as she investigates cases.

Being a sort of legacy can be a challenge in real life. In fiction, though, it can add an interesting layer to a character. It can also add a solid plot point or point of suspense.

 
 
 

*NOTE:  The title of this post is a line from Dan Fogelberg’s Leader of the Band.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Cara Black, James Ellroy, Lynda La Plante, Martin Edwards

I’ll Take Your Part*

Classic and Golden Age crime fiction includes quite a few ‘gentleman detectives’ such as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. And it can be expensive to hire them. Poirot even admits a few times that his work does not come cheaply. Fans know that he is also sometimes compelled to investigate by compassion, but still,  hiring him can be costly.

And, yet, it’s not just the wealthy who are in need of an advocate. Sometimes those without any money get themselves into legal trouble or need a PI. Crime fiction also includes plenty of characters who help those without a lot of money or ‘clout – even if they’re not required to take such cases pro bono. And those stories (and characters) can be at least as compelling.

One of the most famous such characters is John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. He is a self-described ‘salvage consultant’ whose specialty is helping those who have had money or property stolen from them and have nowhere else to turn. McGee’s needs are relatively few, and he’s not greedy. His arrangement with his clients is usually that he will work on their behalf to get back what was taken from them. In return, he claims half of the value of that money or property. On the one hand, it sounds like a lot. On the other, his clients know that they have no chance of recovering their property without help. McGee is straightforward, good at what he does, and willing to help even destitute and desperate clients. So, in general, the arrangement works well for all. It helps, too, that he has a compassionate side, and feels a need to get justice for those who have no other chance of getting it.

Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder has also been known to work on behalf of those who have nowhere else to turn. For example, in Eight Million Ways to Die, he meets Kim Dakkinen, a sex worker who wants to get out of the business, and free of her pimp. She’s going to need help, and for that, she turns to Scudder. He agrees to do what he can to protect her, but it isn’t successful. Kim is found brutally murdered, and Scudder feels a sense of responsibility. His first thought is that Kim’s pimp, an enigmatic man who calls himself Chance, is the killer. But Chance claims to be innocent, and, in fact, hires Scudder to find out who the real killer is. And it turns out that Kim’s death is more than a case of punishing a sex worker for trying to leave the business.

In Martin Edwards’ All the Lonely People, we are introduced to Liverpool lawyer Harry Devlin. He works for a seedy firm, and does most of his business representing sex workers, drug users, and down-and-out people who don’t have much hope of getting legal help. In the process, he’s become familiar with the city’s underside, and that turns out to be useful to him. For instance, in I Remember You, Devlin becomes suspicious when a fire destroys the shop of tattooist Finar Rogan. Then, a bomb goes off under Rogan’s car. It’s clear now that someone wants to kill him. As Devlin himself thinks:
 

‘He knew the folly of becoming too closely involved with his clients and their misfortunes, yet it was a mistake he could never help making.’
 

It’s that fascination for his clients, and his determination to do the right thing, that makes Devlin a formidable ally.

Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski has a strong social conscience. More than once, that means that she works on behalf of those who can’t pay (or who can only pay a little). For instance, in Burn Marks, a visit from Warshawski’s Aunt Elena alerts her to a fire that took place in the seedy SRO hotel where her aunt lives. It’s a run-down place, occupied mostly by people who can’t afford anything better. Although Aunt Elena’s unexpected visit triggers Warshawski’s interest in the case, it’s her concern for the well-being of the people who live in the building that keeps her involved. And that interest turns out to be dangerous, as she goes up against well-placed developers and ‘backroom politics.’

Several of John Grisham’s protagonists take on the cases of those who have nowhere else to turn. In The Client, for instance, we are introduced to Memphis attorney Regina ‘Reggie’ Love. She gets involved in a very dangerous case when she meets eleven-year-old Mark Sway. He and his brother Ricky were sneaking a cigarette when they witnessed a suicide. That death is connected to another notorious murder and a missing body. Ricky was deeply affected and is in a sort of catatonic state. Mark is smart enough to know that the two boys are in real trouble. So, when he meets Love, he wants her help. The Sway boys and their mother can’t afford a lawyer, but Love wants to keep the boys safe, so she charges the family one dollar for her services. By getting involved in this case, Love goes up against some very dangerous people, including Mafia thugs and highly-placed people who are connected to the Mob. The Sway family fares little better, since the Mafia is convinced that Mark knows more than he is saying. And Love fears that the FBI won’t be of much help protecting the family. So, she will have to do what she can to keep the family as safe as possible. Fans of Grisham’s Gray Mountain will know that it also features a lawyer who works for those who don’t have much of a voice of their own.

Of course, lawyers, PIs and other professional investigators have to earn a living. But that doesn’t always mean that they don’t work on behalf of those who are ‘down and out.’ And it’s interesting to see how this theme comes through in crime fiction.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, John D. MacDonald, John Grisham, Lawrence Block, Martin Edwards, Sara Paretsky

Old Love*

Just because people break off relationships doesn’t mean they automatically stop caring for their exes. Sometime, the breakup is amicable, and the two people remain friends, or they are colleagues who can work together. Sometimes, one of the two wants to rekindle the romance. Other times, it’s just what you might call fond memories.

Whatever is the case, there is often a bond between former lovers. And that’s part of why we see so many crime novels in which an old flame asks the sleuth for help, or in which the sleuth offers help because of that former relationship. That trope can add tension to a story, as well as backstory on a character.

For instance, in Patricia Wentworth’s Grey Mask, Charles Moray returns to England after a four-year absence. The reason he left was mostly his breakup with his fiancée, Margaret Langton, but Moray’s trying not to let that prevent him from taking up his life again. He returns to his family home, only to find that it’s being used by a criminal gang led by a man called Grey Mask. Moray discovers that they seem to be planning to kidnap an heiress in order to get at her money. Worse, he sees that one of the people mixed up in this plot is his former fiancée. Moray doesn’t know at first whether Margaret is in danger or has willingly become a criminal. Either way, though, he worries for her, and decides to do some sleuthing. A friend gives him the name of Miss Maude Silver, and Moray goes to see her. With her help, and help from his friend, Archie Millar, Moray uncovers the truth about Grey Mask, the gang, and Margaret Langton.

Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael is a monk who lives and works in 12th-Century England. He joined the clergy a bit later in life than a lot of other monks, and so, has a past. And part of that past is a woman named Richildis, whom we meet in Monk’s Hood. In that novel, Brother Cadfael is called to the bedside of Gervase Bonel. That in itself isn’t surprising, as Cadfael is an herbalist. What is shocking is that Bonel has been poisoned by monkshood oil that was taken from Cadfael’s supplies. The first and most likely suspect is Bonel’s stepson (and Richildis’ son), Edwin. But Cadfael isn’t sure he’s guilty. So, in part because he cares about Richildis, Cadfael looks into the matter to find out who really killed the victim.

In Surender Mohan Pathak’s The Colaba Conspiracy, key maker and locksmith Jeet Singh is trying to live a ‘straight and narrow’ life after a career as a lockbreaker and safecracker. Now, he owns a Mumbai kiosk where he’s trying to make an honest, if not lucrative, living. One day, Singh gets the chance to earn a great deal of money by doing another underworld job, but he refuses. He thinks that will be the end of his lawbreaking days, until he gets a visit from a former lover, Sushmita.  She is in trouble and needs his help. It seems that her wealthy husband, Pursumal Changulani, was killed in what looked like a carjacking incident that went wrong. But other evidence suggests that this was a professional killing, and there is a suspicion that Sushmita hired the killer. She says that she is innocent and is being targeted by her stepchildren, who claim she was never legally married to their father and is therefore ineligible to inherit. In order to clear her name, and inherit, she’ll need a good lawyer, which she can’t afford. And she won’t have access to any of her husband’s money until the matter is resolved. Singh still has feelings for Sushmita. Besides, if she is innocent, she should be cleared of suspicion. So, he agrees to help. And that’s what pushes him to take on that one last illegal job – and gets him into grave danger.

Martin Edwards’ All the Lonely People features Liverpool solicitor Harry Devlin. He makes his living defending the ‘down and out’ people, so he’s not exactly getting rich. Still, he’s dedicated to doing the best job he can. One day, he gets a surprise visit from his ex-wife. Liz. She tells him that she’s run away from her current lover, Mick Coghlin, because she’s afraid of him. Then, she asks Devlin to let her stay with him for a few days. Devlin is hoping he and Liz can reconcile, so he agrees. Then, two nights later, Liz is murdered, and her body found in an alley. Devlin feels a burden of guilt, because he didn’t take her fears very seriously at first. Besides, he still cares about Liz. So, he decides to find out who murdered her. At first, it seems clear that Coghlin is the killer. But, as Devlin learns more about Liz’ last months and weeks, he also learns that there are other possibilities.

There’s an interesting case of an old flame in Dick Francis’ Whip Hand. Former jockey Sid Halley’s racing career ended when his left hand was permanently injured. Later (see Odds Against for the details) he lost that hand. With his riding days over, Halley’s become a racetrack investigator. In one plot thread of this novel, he is approached by his former father-in-law, Charles Roland. It seems that his daughter (and Halley’s ex-wife), Jenny, has gotten involved with a scam artist who calls himself Nicholas Ashe. His trick is to bilk people out of money using a fake charity, and now he’s used Jenny’s name in the scheme. This means that she’s under investigation for fraud. The only way to clear her name is to find Ashe, and that’s what Roland wants Halley to do. Halley ’s very reluctant at first. The divorce was a bitter one, and neither he nor Jenny want anything to do with each other. But Roland finally persuades Halley to look into the matter.

And that’s the thing about old loves and exes. Even after the relationship is over, there’s still often a bond. So, it’s not surprising that we see this plot point as often as we do in crime fiction.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of an Eric Clapton/Robert Cray song.  Happy Birthday, Mr. Clapton!

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Filed under Dick Francis, Ellis Peters, Martin Edwards, Patricia Wentworth, Surender Mohan Pathak