Category Archives: Peter Robinson

You Know I’m Gonna be Like Him*

It’s interesting how things get passed along in families. I’m not really talking here about physical appearance, although that, of course, is passed along, too. I’m talking more about things such as mannerisms, traits, and, sometimes, special talents. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying something exactly like one of your parents, or using a mannerism that one of your parents used, you know what I mean.

We see this in crime fiction, too, and it can make for an interesting layer of character development. It can even add to a plot point. It’s realistic, too, so it can also add some credibility to family dynamics.

Agatha Christie addressed this in several of her stories. There’s even one (I’m not giving title or sleuth, so as to avoid spoilers) in which family traits prove to be a major clue to a killer. Appointment With Death, for instance, features the Boynton family, Americans who are on a tour of the Middle East. Family matriarch Mrs. Boynton is a malicious, tyrannical person whom Hercule Poirot calls a mental sadist. She has her family so much under her control that they do whatever she says, and never risk displeasing her. The family takes a trip to the ruins of Petra, during which Mrs. Boynton suddenly dies. Colonel Carbury is in charge of the case, and he’s not quite satisfied that this was a natural death. He asks Hercule Poirot to look into the matter, and it soon comes out that the victim was murdered. The most likely suspects are the members of her family, each of whom had a very good motive for murder. One of those family members is seventeen-year-old Ginevra ‘Jinny’ Boynton. She’s become mentally quite fragile as a result of her mother’s psychological abuse, and on the surface, she doesn’t seem much like her at all. But, she has a rare acting ability. When she gets the chance to live her own life, free of her mother’s influence, we see just how talented she is – and that she has more in common with her mother than it seemed. Here’s what one character says:
 

‘‘Looking at Jinny, I saw – for the first time – the likeness. The same thing – only Jinny is in light – where She was in darkness…’’
 

It’s an interesting commentary on the way certain mannerisms and personality traits can be passed down.

In Peter Robinson’s Gallows View, we are introduced to Trevor Sharp. He’s a teenager who’s a bit at loose ends. He doesn’t fit in well at school, and he doesn’t have a lot of friends. So, as you can imagine, he’s quite drawn in by a local delinquent named Mick Webster. His father, Graham, warns him away from the boy, but Trevor doesn’t listen. That’s how he gets mixed up in several cases that Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Alan Banks is investigating. For one thing, a voyeur has been spying on several of Eastvale’s women. For another, there’s been a series of home invasions. Then, there’s a murder. And Banks wants to know what role, if any, Trevor has played in these crimes. As we get to know the Sharps, we see that on the surface, they’re different. But they really aren’t that different after all. And, in the end, we see how much Trevor has inherited, if that’s the right term, from his father.

One of the main characters in James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential is an LAPD officer named Edward ‘Ed’ Exley. He is the son of LAPD legend Preston Exley, and that fact makes his life extremely complicated. His older brother Thomas, was, in many ways, just like their father, and slated for a highly successful police career. In fact, Exley senior placed all of his hopes in Thomas. But Thomas was killed in WW II (the novel takes place in the early 1950s) shortly after his graduation from the police academy. Now, the burden of excelling on the police force falls to Ed, who’s not nearly as much like his father as his brother was. Still, as the novel goes on, we see that he has more in common with his father than it may seem on the surface.

Herman Koch’s The Dinner features the members of the Lohman family. One evening, Paul Lohman and his wife, Claire, meet up with his brother, Serge, and Serge’s wife, Babette. They’re having dinner at an ultra-exclusive and extremely expensive Amsterdam restaurant. On the surface, it’s just a getting-together of two couples. But under the surface, there’s a lot more going on. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son, and, together, their boys have committed a terrible crime. Now, the two couples have to decide what they’re going to do about it. As the novel goes on, we see that, in several ways, the boys have inherited their attitudes and beliefs from their parents. While the parents are unwilling to admit it, there’s a resemblance between them and their sons.

And then there’s Gail Bowen’s sleuth, Joanne Kilbourn Shreve. She is a (now-retired) academic and political scientist. She is also the mother of an adopted daughter, Taylor. Among other things, Taylor is an extraordinary artist, with rare talent. Interestingly, her biological mother, Sally, also had real artistic talent. The novels in the series don’t all focus on Taylor, Sally, or art. But throughout the series, we see how, even though they spent no real time together during Taylor’s formative years (Sally was killed when Taylor was not much more than a toddler), there are still real resemblances between the two. And sometimes, they’re very clear to Joanne, who was friends with Sally and who has raised Taylor.

There are, of course, plenty of examples of parents and children who are absolutely nothing like one another. But in a lot of cases, there are similarities, whether it’s in attitude, mannerisms, preferences, or something else. So it makes sense that we’d see those similarities in crime fiction.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Gail Bowen, Herman Koch, James Ellroy, Peter Robinson

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

Get Up, Get Out, Get Well Again*

Not long ago, Moira, at Clothes in Books, brought up a very interesting question: what books would you recommend for someone who is convalescing? It isn’t an easy question. Books that are very bleak, or very long, or that explore deep philosophical issues, might not be the best choice. People who are convalescing may need to rest a lot, and they may not have the energy to ‘go dark,’ keep pace with a thriller, or really think deeply about issues. At the same time, just because people are recovering from an illness or surgery doesn’t mean they want ‘frothy’ books or badly written books.

There’s also the matter of personal taste, of course. Some series are more appealing than others, whether or not a person is in good health. So, making recommendations almost always carries a certain risk. That said, though, Moira asked a good question, and I decided to offer a few suggestions.

I’ll start by saying I couldn’t recommend just one book, or even just one author. I’ll also add that all of my suggestions are crime fiction (which should surprise exactly no-one). That said, here are a few of my ideas.

 

Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series

There are several things I like about this series for the person who’s convalescing. For one thing, none of the books is very long. So, someone who needs to rest, and may not have a lot of energy, can still enjoy the books. I also like the fact that the pace of these books is leisurely, but (at least for me) not plodding. It’s not the sort of series that wears a person out. And yet, the stories are engaging, and the characters interesting. There’s also the optimistic nature of the series. Even when things don’t work out, or there’s bad news, or… the stories have hope. Someone who’s convalescing isn’t likely to want to dwell on how bad things could get. Finally, the setting is exotic enough that it can draw the reader into a fascinating different place.

 

Cathy Ace’s Caitlin Morgan Series and W.I.S.E. Series

Ace writes traditional-style mysteries. One of her series features Caitlin ‘Cait’ Morgan, a criminologist and academician who teaches at the University of Vancouver. Her W.I.S.E. series features four women (one Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish, and one English) who set up an investigation agency. The stories mostly take place in the Welsh town of Anwen by Wye. Both of these series include whodunit-type plots that invite the reader to stay interested and keep turning and swiping pages. They both feature appealing (well, at least to me) settings and characters as well. Since they’re both traditional-style series, they don’t feature gore or a ‘high octane’ pace. Yet, they are not without substance. To me, they strike a fine balance between engaging and keeping the reader’s attention without being too much for a reader who is recovering from an illness or surgery.
 

Martin Walker’s Benoît ‘Bruno’ Courrèges Series

Martin Walker’s Benoît ‘Bruno’ Courrèges series strikes a similar balance. Bruno is Chief of Police in the small Périgord town of St. Denis. He’s also a member of the community, who’s woven into the town’s life. The mysteries he investigates are not light, ‘easy’ cases. But neither are they gory or bleak. And they invite the reader to engage in the story. They make their points without getting overly philosophical or ‘weighty,’ and the pace moves along without being tiring. While they’re not what you’d call very short books, they’re also not doorstop-length, either. A person who’s convalescing would, at least in my opinion, be able to enjoy the series without getting exhausted.

 

Peter Robinson’s Alan Banks Series

There often comes a point in convalescence when a person is almost, but not quite, ready to rejoin the world, so to speak. People in that situation may not be at the point of going back to work yet, but they are getting some energy back. And they may be ready for a series that sometimes gets a bit darker. That’s where Peter Robinson’s Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Alan Banks series may come in handy.  These novels take place mostly in and around the Yorkshire town of Eastvale. They begin, in Gallows View, as Banks and his family move from London to Eastvale and follow Banks’ personal and professional life. The novels aren’t really overly long, and they’re not what you’d call bleak or gory. The focus is often on the whydunit as well as the whodunit, and Robinson doesn’t go for ‘shock value’ as he writes. That said though, these books aren’t always very easy, light reading, and sometimes address more challenging subjects. For me, that makes them a solid choice for the convalescent who’s strong enough to start rejoining the human race, so to speak, but isn’t quite finished resting and taking extra care.

 

Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourne Shreve Series

And I wouldn’t want to do a post like this without mentioning Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn Shreve series. Joanne is a political scientist and (later, retired) academician. Based mostly in Regina, the series follows Joanne’s life as she teaches, does research, raises her family and, later, becomes a proud grandmother. The investigations she’s drawn into are sometimes somewhat dark. But Bowen weaves hope, family bonds, and sometimes wit through the novels as well. They are also interesting character studies, as well as solid portraits of life in modern Canada. They aren’t overly philosophical, and they’re not gory or explicit, either. I recommend them in general to begin with, but I think they’re also a fine choice for someone who’s convalescing.

And there you have it.  A few ideas of mine for series that might be of interest to those who are convalescing. Your mileage, as the saying goes, may vary. Thanks, Moira, for inviting me to think about this. Folks, do check out Moira’s excellent blog. It’s a treasure trove of reviews and discussions about fashion and culture in books, and what it all says about us.

What are your ideas, folks? What would you recommend?

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Duke Ellington’s Merry Mending.

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Filed under Alexander McCall Smith, Cathy Ace, Gail Bowen, Martin Walker, Peter Robinson

The Children, They Know*

A few days ago, I did a post on fictional interrogations, and the leaven that they can add to a story. When the subject is an adult, there are all sorts of possibilities, depending on what the author wants to achieve, and on the circumstances in the story. An interrogation can be gentle, verbally rough, or more.

Things are quite different when the subject is a child. For one thing, children don’t have an adult’s perspective or knowledge. So, they may have seen something without understanding what it all means. And, they may think they’ll get deeply in trouble for something if they tell what they know, even if they had nothing to do with the crime at hand. There’s also the issue of betrayal. Children may feel that, by telling what they know, they’re betraying a friend or an important adult. And that’s to say nothing of the trauma a child might feel after witnessing a crime. All of this means that interviewing or interrogating a child can be an extremely delicate, and tricky, matter.

In Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun, for instance, Hercule Poirot works with the police to find out who strangled famous actress Arlena Marshall. She was taking a holiday at the Jolly Roger Hotel, with her husband, Captain Kenneth Marshall, and her stepdaughter, Linda Marshall, when she was killed. And, as it turns out, more than one person at the hotel could have murdered her. As a matter of course, the police and Poirot talk to sixteen-year-old Linda. Like most teens, she’s awkward and not comfortable in her own skin, as the saying goes. At first, she says she liked her stepmother, and that Arlena was quite kind. But that’s not exactly how she really feels, and it’s not long before Poirot works out that there are things Linda’s not saying. It’s interesting to see how both he and Colonel Weston (who’s investigating for the police) handle questioning Linda.

Peter Robinson’s first Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Alan Banks novel is Gallows View. In it, we learn that Banks has recently moved with his family from London to the Yorkshire town of Eastvale. And it’s not long before he’s enmeshed in a few cases. One of them is a voyeur who’s been making the lives of Eastvale women miserable. There’s also a series of home invasions. Then, there’s a murder. Mixed up in some of this is Trevor Sharp, a teenager who doesn’t quite fit in. When he starts spending a lot of time with local hoodlum Mick Webster, you can imagine the consequences aren’t going to be exactly happy. Banks and his team talk to Trevor, and it’s interesting to see how he uses a very teenaged mix of bluster and lies to try to stay out of trouble.

Rennie Airth’s River of Darkness introduces Scotland Yard Inspector John Madden. He is called to the small village of Highfield when Colonel Charles Fletcher, his wife, Lucy, their maid, Sally Pepper, and the nanny, Alice Crookes, are found murdered. The only survivor is the Fletchers’ daughter, Sophy. But it’s nearly impossible to talk to her. For one thing, she’s only four years old. For another, she was hiding under a bed at the time of the murder and is coping with a great deal of trauma. In fact, local GP Dr. Helen Blackwell doesn’t want the police talking to Sophy at all. She and Madden clash a bit about this, but he finally accedes to Blackwell’s request that Sophy go away to visit relatives for a time. That doesn’t mean that the child isn’t of any help, though. She communicates in her own way, through art, and it’s interesting to see how the police and Blackwell use what they learn from her.

Garry Disher’s Bitter Wash Road takes place in the rural South Australia town of Tiverton. Constable Paul ‘Hirsch’ Hirschhausen has been transferred there from Adelaide, mostly as a punishment. He’s seen as a ‘whistleblower’ in an internal investigation, so to say the least, he is not popular among his new colleagues. Still, he does the best he can when the body of fifteen-year-old Melia Donovan is found by Bitter Wash Road. As Hirsch tries to trace the victim’s last days and weeks, he learns about her best friend, Gemma Pitcher, who works at the local convenience store. If anyone knows what Melia might have been doing, and with whom, it’ll be Gemma. At first, Gemma does everything she can to avoid Hirsch. But he finally manages to talk to her. It’s not easy, as Gemma doesn’t want to be disloyal, or get herself in trouble. But she eventually tells him what she knows, and it proves to be useful information.

And then there’s Donna Malane’s My Brother’s Keeper. Wellington missing person expert Diane Rowe gets a new client, Karen Mackie. Karen’s recently been released from prison after serving time for the murder of her son, Falcon, and attempted murder of her daughter, Sunny. Now, she wants Diane to find Sunny (who’s now fourteen), whom she hasn’t seen for the seven years she was in prison. Diane makes no promises and warns Karen that she won’t reveal where Sunny is without the girl’s approval. Karen agrees to those terms, and Diane gets to work. Finding Sunny (who’s living with her father, Justin) turns out to be quite straightforward. But then, there’s a not-so-straightforward murder. And it turns out there is much more to this case than it seems on the surface. At one point, there’s an interesting bit, told from Sunny’s perspective, that takes place immediately after the incident in which her brother was killed. She’s seven at this time, and a police officer is asking her about what happened. What’s particularly interesting about this is that we see how a seven-year-old thinks and responds, and how the police adapt their interview/interrogation strategies when the subject is a child.

It’s not an easy thing to do. But it is important if the police are going to get information from child witnesses. These are jus a few examples. I know you’ll think of many more.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Chuck Mangione’s Look to the Children.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Donna Malane, Garry Disher, Peter Robinson, Rennie Airth

Could’ve Been Me*

Readers often get drawn into a story by identifying with particular characters or situations. That feeling of ‘That could be me!’ can add suspense to the reading experience. It can also help readers understand characters and their motivations. And plenty of authors use this approach.

For example, the real action in Agatha Christie’s 4:50 From Paddington (AKA What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!) begins as Elspeth McGillicuddy is on board a train on the way to visit her friend, Miss Marple. She gets comfortable and drowses just a bit, as anyone might do. She happens to wake when another train passes her train, going in the same direction. As the train goes by, Mrs. McGillicuddy happens to glance into the windows of the other train. That’s when she sees a man strangling a woman. We’ve all been in situations where we were on trains, buses or planes, half-asleep and not paying much attention. So, it’s easy to relate to Mrs. McGillicuddy’s shock when she sees the murder. She tries to get the conductor and police to believe her, but no-one has been reported missing, and there’s been no report of a body on any train. The only person who really does believe Mrs. McGilicuddy is Miss Marple. She does her own experimentation to find out where the body might be, and soon enough, it’s discovered.

Gail Bowen’s The Wandering Soul Murders starts when Bowen’s sleuth, academician and political scientist Joanne Kilbourn, gets a call from her daughter, Mieka. It seems Mieka was getting rid of some dirty rags that had gotten soiled from cleaning up at the catering business she owns. That’s how she found the body of seventeen-year-old Bernice Morin in a nearby trash dumpster. Kilbourn goes to help her daughter and ends up getting involved in a case of multiple murders that has its roots in the past. We’ve all taken trash out, probably without thinking much about it. It’s one of those ordinary things that can make a reader think, ‘That could’ve been me.’

Peter Robinson’s Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Alan Banks series begins with Gallows View. In the novel, Banks has recently moved with his family from London to the Yorkshire town of Eastvale. He’s not there long before he finds himself confronted with several cases. One of them is the case of a voyeur who’s making the lives of Estvale women miserable. In a couple of scenes related to that sub-plot, a character is changing clothes, and gets a creepy sense of being watched. It’s easy for readers to identify with that feeling. If you’ve ever started to change your clothes, and then suddenly checked to be sure the curtains or shades were drawn, you know that feeling. Readers can identify with hat eeriness, and it draws them in.

C.J. Box’s Three Weeks to Say Goodbye isn’t part of his Joe Pickett series; it’s a standalone. In it, we meet Jack McGuane, a Travel Development Specialist for the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. His wife, Melissa, works at a local hotel. They are also loving parents to eighteen-month-old Angelina. Then, one day, their world is shattered. They get a call from the agency through which they adopted Angelina, and it’s very bad news. It seems that the baby’s biological father, eighteen-year-old Garrett Moreland, never waived his parental rights. Now, he’s decided to exercise them, and he wants Angelina back. At first, it seems like a terrible mix-up. But then, the McGuanes’ adoption lawyer refuses to get involved, saying there’s nothing much that can be done. It’s clear now that there’s something more here than a change of mind. To make matters worse, Garrett’s father is powerful judge John Moreland, and he intends to do whatever it takes to support his son. In fact, the McGuanes receive a court order to surrender Angelina within twenty-one days. This they refuse to do. And before he knows it, McGuane finds himself doing things he never would have imagined. And it’s not hard for readers, especially readers who are parents, to identify with what it might be like to have your child taken from you. That connection adds to the suspense of the novel.

If you’ve ever taken a baby or a very small child on a plane trip, you can understand how Joanna Lindsay and Alistair Robertson feel at the beginning of Helen Fitzgerald’s The Cry. They’re on the way from Scotland to Robertson’s native Victoria, a trip of some 24 hours or sometimes much more, depending on stopovers. With them is their nine-week old son, Noah. Even under the best of circumstances, Noah isn’t an ‘easy’ baby. And a long airline trip is not the best of circumstances. Any parent who’s been on a long flight like this will likely identify with the parents’ exhaustion and frustration as the baby refuses to stay settled and sleep. Several of the other passengers lose their tempers, and it’s an awfully difficult experience for everyone. The tension doesn’t ease up when the plane lands, either. On the drive from the airport in Melbourne to their destination, the couple faces every parent’s worst nightmare: the loss of their son. There’s a massive search, and a lot of help and sympathy, too. Then, there start to be whispers (and then gossip, and then full-on accusations) that the parents, especially Joanna, might have been involved in this case. Matters get worse and worse, but in the end, we find out the truth about Noah.

These are only a few examples of the way authors can use events to draw readers into a story. When readers can connect with the characters (i.e. ‘That might have happened to me!’), they’re more likely to stay engaged in the story. And that’s what any author wants.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by John Martyn.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, C.J. Box, Gail Bowen, Helen Fitzgerald, Peter Robinson