Category Archives: Paddy Richardson

Armistice Day*

As this is posted, it’s 100 years since the armistice that ended World War I. The actual fighting ended, to everyone’s relief. But that didn’t mean that things were all right again. The world faced a number of major challenges, even beyond the political challenges that played a major role in starting World War II.

Crime fiction from and about that post-war era shows some of the difficulties that people faced, even though the guns had fallen silent. Looking at the way that individual people and families coped with those challenges lends a human perspective on what it’s like to try to put life together again after a catastrophe such as a major war.

For one thing, the war had cost much in terms of money, supplies, and even basic items. We see that, for instance, in Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which takes place just after the end of the war. Styles Court is the home of Emily Inglethorp and her husband, Alfred. Also making their homes there are Mrs. Inglethorp’s stepsons, John and Lawrence Cavendish, and John’s wife, Mary. There are also Mrs. Inglethorp’s ward, Cynthia Murdoch, and Mrs. Inglethorp’s companion and friend, Evelyn Howard. Although the family is well off, they’re still facing some privation. Nothing is wasted, not even a scrap of paper. Meals are served so as to use as little electricity as possible. And Mary Cavendish works as a Land Girl. Captain Hastings visits the Inglethorps, whom he’s known for some time. While he’s there, Mrs. Inglethorp is poisoned one night. As it happens, Hercule Poirot is living in the nearby village with some other displaced Belgians, and he works with Hastings to find out who the killer is.

It’s worth noting that Poirot’s refugee status is another post-war issue that had to be faced. Many people had no homes after the war and went elsewhere. Others had lost their families. Still others feared for their lives. All of them needed new places to live.

We also get a look at post-war scarcities in Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests. In that novel, Emily Wray and her daughter, Frances, have lost Emily’s husband and son, and times have become hard for them. So, they’ve decided they’ll need to open their homes to lodgers – ‘paying guests,’ as the euphemism goes. Len and Lilian Barber respond to the Wrays’ discreet advertisement, and soon move in. It’s all awkward at first, as you can imagine. But the Barbers settle in. Little by little, though, things start to spin out of control, and the end result is a terrible tragedy. One of the elements woven into this novel is the difficulty in getting decent food, hot water, and so on. There’s also the sense of shame and loss of pride, since the Wrays can no longer afford the things they once could.

Another major set of challenges was faced as the soldiers returned from war. For one thing, they had many physical and psychical injuries and lasting scars. And then-modern psychology and surgery weren’t equipped to deal with everything these veterans needed. That’s not to mention the reaction of those who had stayed behind to the returning soldiers, who were often badly wounded, with very obvious injuries.

We see this, for instance, in Jacqueline Winspear’s series featuring Maisie Dobbs. At the beginning of the series, she works ‘in service.’ But she joins the World War I effort and becomes a nurse. She sees more than her share of battle and resulting injures. When the war is over, she returns and takes up her work as a private investigator/psychologist. In her first case (Maisie Dobbs is the first book in this series), she investigates The Refuge, which is a home for returning veterans. And we see how difficult it was for these men to try to fit back into a society that often wasn’t ready for them.

The ‘Charles Todd’ writing team also explores the difficult of fitting back into the world after World War I. Their Ian Rutledge series and their Bess Crawford series both feature protagonists who saw wartime combat and now have to adjust to a changing world that doesn’t understand (sometimes doesn’t want to understand) what they’ve been through and seen. Being in war changes people, and being without loved ones (because they’re away at war) changes people, too. And these two series explore those challenges.

That’s also the case in Paddy Richardson’s Through the Lonesome Dark. This novel isn’t, strictly speaking, a crime novel, although there are crimes committed in it. Its focus is three children: Pansy Williams, Clem Bright, and Otto Brader, who grow up in the small New Zealand town of Blackball, just before WW I. The three are best of friends, and they are devoted to each other. When the war comes, Clem goes off to service, while Pansy tries to keep life going at home. Otto faces his own challenges because of his German ancestry.  The war tears the three friends apart, and it’s not spoiling the story to say that, when Clem returns, everything is different. All three have to somehow pick up the pieces of their lives.

There were, of course, many other issues that the world had to face after the Great War. The influenza pandemic, new and evolving social roles, major changes in the class system, and other issues made it sometimes very challenging to negotiate the new world order. The armistice of 1918 put an end to the official hostilities of World War I. But it was, in a lot of ways, just the beginning of the healing the world needed to do.

ps. The ‘photo is of the Armistice celebration in Allentown, Pennsylvania, courtesy of the Allentown Call-Chronicle.
 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Midnight Oil.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Charles Todd, Jacqueline Winspear, Paddy Richardson, Sarah Waters

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

Each Parent Here Expects Their Child to Earn a High Return*

One of the important jobs that teachers often have is to work with their students’ parents. Research shows that a solid home/school relationship contributes to student achievement; students benefit if their teachers are in regular communication with their families. More than that, a solid home/school relationship makes communication much easier and less awkward if there is a problem. So, it makes sense that teachers and other school staff would want to reach out to parents.

But that communication can be fraught with difficulties. For one thing, parents and teachers may not see things the same way. For another, there’s a lot at stake in the relationship. Parents want their children to do well; and for many, their children’s reputations are a reflection of their parenting. Because the home/school relationship is so important, and sometimes so tense, it’s not surprising that it come up in crime fiction. Here are just a few instances; there are a lot more out there.

In Agatha Christie’s Cat Among the Pigeons, we are introduced to Honoria Bulstrode. She is the headmistress at Meadowbank, an exclusive school for girls. The novel opens as Meadowbank begins the summer term, and parents arrive with their daughters. Miss Bulstrode, her business partner, Miss Chadwick, and her assistant, Eleanor Vansittart, welcome the students, deal with the parents, and try to get everyone settled. There’s a funny scene where one parent arrives, completely inebriated, with the goal of taking her daughters out of the school. Miss Bulstrode sees what’s happening and how it’s handled, and completely misses something important that’s said to her. That comment turns out to be key to the solution when the new games mistress, Grace Springer, is shot late one night. That murder is related to a kidnapping, some stolen jewels, and a revolution in a faraway country.

Peter Robinson’s Gallows View takes place in the Yorkshire town of Eastvale. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Alan Banks has recently moved there with his family. Almost immediately, he is faced with some difficult investigations. There’s a voyeur who’s been making the women of Eastvale miserable. And there’s been a series of home invasions. Then, there’s a murder. And one person who may be mixed up in it all is a teenager named Trevor Sharp. He doesn’t fit in particularly well at school and is a bit at loose ends. His teachers have told his father that he doesn’t apply himself, and that he could do better, but Trevor’s father is, to say the least, not helpful. That’s what Banks finds, too, when he tries to talk to the man about his son. The relationship between home and school isn’t a major part of the plot in this novel, but it does add interesting character layers, and it shows what happens when there’s a gulf between parents and teachers.

Paddy Richardson’s Swimming in the Dark is, in part, the story of Ilse Klein, a secondary school teacher in the small town of Alexandria, on New Zealand’s South Island. In one plot thread, she becomes concerned about one of her most promising students, fifteen-year-old Serena Freeman. Lately, Serena has been skipping school a great deal. And when she is there, she takes no interest in what’s going on, and she doesn’t participate. This is so unlike the girl that Ilse alerts the school’s counseling team, who send a representative to Serena’s home. Serena’s mother resents the visit, and in any case, doesn’t have much to say about her daughter’s recent changes. She proves to be more defensive and self-involved than helpful. Then, Serena goes missing. Now, Ilse Klein is very worried, and ends up getting more deeply involved in what’s going on than she ever thought possible.

One of the main characters in Herman Koch’s The Dinner is former teacher Paul Lohman. One night, he and his wife, Claire, meet up for dinner with his older brother, Serge, and Serge’s wife, Babette. The restaurant is ultra-exclusive, and on the surface, it looks like a lovely night out. But underneath, things are quite different. The story is told as the meal progresses, and during each ‘course,’ we find out more about these two couples. One thing we learn is that their sons, each aged fifteen, are responsible for a terrible crime. The reason for the dinner is that the parents want to discuss what to do about what they know. As the novel moves on, we learn the families’ backstories, including Paul’s time as a history teacher. It turns out that he angered some parents (and some of the students) with his comments about the Second World War. The parents complained to the school board and principal, and Paul was urged to ‘take some time off,’ and ‘get some rest.’ In the end, he retired for medical reasons. There are a few scenes in the novel that depict some conversations between Paul and the school principal, and they show how teachers can view things very differently to the way parents do. It’s not spoiling the story to say that Paul is not a very reliable narrator, so it’s also an invitation to the reader to think about what really happened in the classroom.

And then there’s Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. That’s the story of a group of families, all of whose children attend Piriwee Public School, on Piriwee Peninsula, near Sydney. The main focus of the novel is the Kindergarten class and the members of their families. The Kindgergarten teacher, Bec Barnes, is looking forward to a good school year. But that’s not how things turn out. First, one of the most influential mothers at the school, Renata Klein, claims that another boy, Ziggy Chapman, bullied and hurt her daughter, Amabella. Ziggy claims he’s innocent, and his mother, Jane, believes him. But Renata is extremely influential. So, Bec is soon caught in the proverbial crossfire between ‘team Renata’ and ‘team Jane.’ At first, as you would imagine, her impulse is to stop the bullying immediately, and to protect Amabella. But as time goes on, we learn that things aren’t as simple as they seem. As if this isn’t enough, the school’s big fundraiser, a Trivia Night, ends in tragedy. As the story goes on, we learn more about the characters, about what’s behind their closed doors, so to speak, and about what leads to the tragedy.

Students do best when their parents and teachers work together. But that doesn’t always happen, and, in fact, that relationship can be very tense indeed. Perhaps that’s why it can add such interesting ‘spice’ to a crime novel.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater’s Here at Horace Green.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Herman Koch, Liane Moriarty, Paddy Richardson, Peter Robinson

Say the Word and I Will Rescue You*

In Agatha Christie’s Peril at End House, Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings meet Magdala ‘Nick’ Buckley. A short conversation is enough to suggest to Poirot that she may be in danger for her life. And he finds a piece of evidence that strengthens that conviction. That sense of coming to her rescue, if you will, gets Hastings and Poirot involved in her life. In fact, Poirot warns Nick to be careful, and urges her to have someone stay with her. She obliges by inviting her cousin for a visit. One night, Nick hosts a dinner party, where the guests will watch a display of fireworks afterwards. Poirot and Hastings are invited, so they’re on the scene when Nick’s cousin (who happens to be wearing one of Nick’s shawls) is shot. Now more convinced than ever that Nick’s at risk, Poirot takes further steps to try to protect her. At the same time, he and Hastings work to find out who shot Nick’s cousin.

Poirot is by no means the only sleuth who gets drawn into a case because someone needs what I’ll call rescuing. It’s a natural human reaction to want to help someone who’s in trouble, and it’s a useful tool for an author to draw a sleuth into a case, especially a sleuth who’s not a professional detective. So, it’s little wonder we see this plot point in a lot of crime fiction.

Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe feels a similar sense of protectiveness in The Big Sleep. In that story, he’s hired by General Guy Sternwood to stop a blackmailer. It seems that book dealer Arthur Geiger sent Sternwood an extortion letter that mentioned his daughter, Carmen. Now, Sternwood wants Marlowe to find Geiger and stop him. By the time Marlowe gets to Geiger’s shop, though, it’s too late: he’s been murdered. Carmen is in the room when Marlowe finds Geiger’s body, but she is too dazed, or too drugged, to be coherent. Marlowe gets her away from the scene as quickly as possible, to avoid mixing her up in this murder. That decision to rescue Carmen Sternwood draws Marlowe deeper and deeper into the family doings, and into more trouble and danger than he’d bargained for at the outset.

In Kerry Greenwood’s Earthly Delights, we are introduced to Corinna Chapman, a Melbourne accountant-turned-baker who has her home and shop in a large Roman-style building called Insula. In one of the story’s plot lines, the building gets a new resident, Andy Holliday. He doesn’t really mix with the other people who live there and has very little to say for himself. When Chapman visits him to introduce herself, she finds that he’s in a bad way. He’s left most of his things in boxes – except for a bottle of scotch, a glass, and cigarettes. It’s not long before Chapman learns what’s making Halliday miserable: his teenage daughter, Cherie, ran away because her parents didn’t believe her when she told them she was being molested. Andy wants very badly to try to patch things up with Cherie, but he has no idea how to find her. Chapman barely knows the man, but she sees that he needs help, and she steps in. They find a way to reach out to Cherie, and it’s not spoiling the novel to say that Andy and his daughter reconnect.

Paddy Richardson’s Traces of Red features Wellington journalist Rebecca Thorne. She’s gained a good reputation as host of a television show called Saturday Night, but she knows there are younger, ‘hungry’ journalists out there. So, she would love to find the story that will establish her at the top of New Zealand journalism. And she thinks she finds it in the case of Connor Bligh. He’s been in prison for years for the murder of his sister, her husband, and their son. Only their daughter survived, because she wasn’t home at the time of the murder. Now, little pieces of evidence suggest that Bligh was innocent. If that’s true, it would make exactly the sort of story Thorne wants. So, she starts to pursue the story, and almost immediately runs into obstacles. There are several people who are absolutely convinced that Bligh is guilty. They are not at all willing to help Thorne. But she persists, partly out of a desire to get the story, and partly because she feels a desire to rescue Bligh, if I may put it that way, if he’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. And she finds herself getting closer to the story then she thought she would.

And then there’s Geoffrey McGeachin’s The Digger’s Rest Hotel, which is the first of his Charlie Berlin novels. It’s 1947, and Berlin has recently returned to Melbourne from military service in Europe, where he was a POW for a time. He wants to get on with life and get back to work as a police officer, so he’s seconded to Wodonga to help the local police stop a motorcycle gang that’s been committing a string of robberies. While he’s there, Berlin meets Rebecca Green, who’s doing a story on the robberies for the Argus. Both see the wisdom of working together, rather than as adversaries, so they share the information that they can. As they get to know each other, Green sees that Berlin is suffering from what we would now call PTSD. He’s not really a fragile person, but he has his share of demons, and Green feels a sort of protectiveness towards him. You might even call it the urge to rescue him.

A lot of people have that urge to protect and rescue, and sometimes, it’s a very sound instinct. After all, it’s been responsible for saving a lot of lives. But sometimes, the instinct to rescue and protect can get a person into much more than it seems at first.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Chicago’s Rescue You.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Geoffrey McGeachin, Kerry Greenwood, Paddy Richardson, Raymond Chandler

Be Careful What You Wish For*

In John Burdett’s Bangkok Tattoo, Royal Thai Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a dedicated Buddhist, has this to say:
 

‘To the evolved mind of the Gautama Buddha, any desire was an obscene distortion…’
 

And one of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism is that the cause of all human suffering is desire, in some form or another.

The whole concept of wanting things (or a particular outcome, or…) is seen differently in non-Buddhist cultures. But even so, we’ve all been warned against greed. There’s even the old expression, ‘Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.’ And there’s something to that. Getting what we think we want may come with all sorts of consequences. Don’t believe me? Just take a quick look at crime fiction, and you’ll see what I mean.

In Agatha Christie’s Cat Among the Pigeons, we are introduced to Honoria Bulstrode, who owns and runs an exclusive girls’ school called Meadowbank. It’s been a great success and has a gilt-edged reputation. In fact, things are going so well that Miss Bulstrode feels that it’s all gotten a bit dull. Some of the spark has gone out of her work, and she’d like to feel passionate about it all again. All thoughts of dullness go away when the new Games Mistress, Grace Springer, is shot late one night in the new Sports Pavilion. Then, there’s a kidnapping. And another murder. Now, parents start removing their daughters from the school, and there’s a real chance that the school might have to close. Hercule Poirot works to find out who or what is behind all that’s going on at the school. He finds that it’s all connected to some valuable gems and a revolution in a faraway place. Miss Bulstrode might have wanted things to be less dull, but she certainly didn’t want the havoc that’s wreaked on her school…

James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity features insurance agent Walter Huff. When he goes to visit one of his clients, H.S. Nirdlinger, he meets the man’s wife, Phyllis, instead. He’s immediately attracted to her, and she does nothing to discourage him. Before long, they’re having an affair. Phyllis tells her lover about a plan she has to kill her husband. She even persuades him to write the double-indemnity policy she needs to benefit from his death the way she wants to benefit. The two plan the murder, which is duly carried out. Now, it really hits Huff that he’s committed a murder because he wanted Phyllis Nirdlinger. As he gets drawn further and further into the web, he learns what can happen when you get what you think you want.

In Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives, we meet Walter and Joanna Eberhart. They’ve just moved from New York City to the small town of Stepford, Connecticut. Their goal was a nice home in an affordable place with low taxes and good schools. And they think they’ve found it. In fact, Stepford seems to be an ideal place. Then, Joanna’s new friend Bobbie Markowe starts to suspect that something might be very wrong with Stepford. At first, Joanna doesn’t believe it. Everything Bobbie mentions seems to have a logical explanation. Besides, Joanna doesn’t want to move again so soon after moving to Stepford. Then, other things begin to happen, and Joanna learns that what she thought she wanted has turned out very differently.

Paddy Richardson’s Traces of Red features Wellington journalist Rebecca Thorne. She’s been doing very well, but she knows that there are younger, hungry journalists right behind her. What she would really like is the story that could cement her position at the top of New Zealand journalism. And she gets that chance when she hears about 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. Only their daughter, Katy, survived, because she wasn’t at home at the time of the killings. There are little hints now that Bligh might not have committed the crimes. If he is innocent, then this could be the story Thorne’s been wanting. She starts to ask questions, and soon finds herself getting much closer to everything than she should. And she discovers that getting that perfect story isn’t all it may seem on the surface.

And then there’s Jock Serong’s The Rules of Backyard Cricket. Wally and Darren Keefe are both cricket-mad. As children, they play it in the backyard of their Melbourne home, and both of them want to be famous cricketers. Their mother wants that for them, too. It’s not out of the question, either, because both are quite talented. As time goes on, their talent is honed, and they both get what they want: cricket stardom. They have very different personalities, though, and that impacts what happens to them. Wally is the disciplined one. He works very hard and is driven to be the best. Darren has rare talent – the once-in-a-generation kind – but is more impulsive and less disciplined. When he’s at his best, he is superb. But he doesn’t have his brother’s focus. And these differences play an important role in both lives as the two brothers learn the hard way that what they thought they wanted isn’t at all what they imagined. It all leads to real tragedy.

And that’s the thing about getting what you think you want. Sometimes, it works out really well. Other times…it doesn’t. And that can have all sorts of consequences.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a song by Doug Adair.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Ira Levin, James M. Cain, Jock Serong, John Burdett, Paddy Richardson