Someday I’ll Make This Right*

One of the reasons a lot of people read crime fiction is the appeal of what I’ll call putting things back in order. When there’s a crime such as murder, we want the ‘bad guy’ caught and we want that person to answer for what happened. Of course, we all know that real life doesn’t work that way, and plenty of people commit crimes for which they don’t pay. And there are many readers who enjoy that sort of hard-nosed, realistic look at crime.

But a lot of people like a sense of order restored when the person responsible for a crime is caught. That’s why it rankles so much, both in real life and in crime fiction, when a murderer gets away with the crime. Any fan of police procedurals can tell you that it haunts fictional police officers when they don’t catch a murderer. And there are plenty of crime plots that involve someone going back to set things right and catch a ‘bad guy’ who got away with it the first time.

Agatha Christie addressed this in more than one of her stories. For instance, in And Then There Were None, ten people are invited to spend time on Indian Island, off the Devon coast. Each accepts for different reasons, and they make their way to the island. When they arrive, they learn that their host isn’t there yet. Still, they make themselves comfortable and settle in. After dinner that first night, everyone is shocked when each person there is accused of causing the death of at least one other person. Shortly after that, one of the guests suddenly dies of what turns out to be poison. Later that night, there’s another death. Soon, it’s clear that someone has lured these people to the island and is murdering them. And it’s not spoiling the story to say that part of the reason is that they have all committed crimes for which they weren’t caught. I see you, fans of Murder on the Orient Express.

Martin Edwards’ The Cipher Garden begins with the murder of landscaper Warren Howe. At the time, his wife, Tina, is suspected of the murder, but the police don’t have enough evidence to prosecute, so the case isn’t solved. Ten years later, anonymous notes suggest that Tina was guilty, and has gotten away with the crime. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Hannah Scarlett of the Cumbria Constabulary is the head of that constabulary’s Cold Case Review Team. When the team learns of these accusations, they re-open the case. If Tina Howe did get away with murder, Scarlett and her team want to right that wrong. Even if someone else is guilty, it still means that the killer got away with the crime. And that’s part of the motivation for looking into it again.

In Michael Connelly’s Echo Park, we learn that LAPD detective Harry Bosch once investigated the disappearance of Marie Gesto, who went missing after leaving a Hollywood-area grocery store. At the time, Bosch had a suspect in mind, but didn’t have the evidence he needed to pursue the case. Now, years later, Raynard Waits is in custody for two other brutal murders. He’s guilty of those and is facing execution. So, he offers to trade information about other murders to the police in exchange for commuting his sentence to life in prison. One of the cases Waits includes is the Gesto case. Since Bosch originally investigated that disappearance, he works with Waits to find out the truth about that case. It haunts him that he didn’t catch the criminal when he first had the chance, and he doesn’t like the idea of someone getting away with murder.

Neither does Tito Ihaka, the Auckland police detective who features in Paul Thomas’ series. In Death on Demand, we learn that, five years earlier, Ihaka was investigating a successful business executive, Christopher Lilywhite, for the contract murder of his wife. Ihaka believed that Lilywhite was responsible, but Lilywhite is a powerful man, so he avoided prosecution. For his part, Ihaka was exiled to another, small-town, setting. Now, Lilywhite wants to talk to Ihaka. So, Ihaka is persuaded to go back to Auckland and find out what the man wants. Part of what motivates him is that he didn’t want Lilywhite to get away with murder. It turns out that Lilywhite has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and wants a conversation with Ihaka before he dies. He tells Ihaka that he did, indeed, pay to have his wife killed. What’s more, he believes that that killer is still out there, and is committing other murders. When Lilywhite dies the next day, Ihaka is sure that the timing is no accident, and goes after the killer.

And then there’s Nathan Blackwell’s The Sound of Her Voice. Auckland police detective Matt Buchanan has been on the police force for a long time – enough to have developed PTSD from some of what he’s seen. He struggles to maintain a balance in life, and he keeps on with the job. A big part of the reason for that is the case of Samantha Coates. She went missing in 1999 and was never found. The police weren’t able to get a viable suspect, either, which means to Buchanan that there’s a killer out there who’s never been caught. He wants to find out who that person is, and get some closure for the family (and, truth be told, for himself). In the meantime, other cases come up, and Buchanan works them. Then, there are some fresh leads in the Samantha Coates case. Buchanan feels he has no choice but to follow them up. He finds that they lead to very dark places, and that several of his cases may be linked.

Many people want the sense of ‘justice done’ and closure that come from catching someone who’s committed a crime. It’s not that simple, of course, but a lot of people want to feel that order has been restored. Little wonder that’s such a strong part of many crime novels.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Negative Space’s When We Collide.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Martin Edwards, Michael Connelly, Nathan Blackwell, Paul Thomas

I Know You*

One of the many effective ways an author can drive a crime fiction plot along is what you might call ‘a blast from the past.’ A character sees someone she or he knows from a long time ago, and acts on that. Sometimes, it’s a happy reunion. Other times, it’s at the very least awkward. That’s especially true if there’s something in the past that a certain character wants to hide.

That tension (e.g. ‘Is that person going to tell all about me?’) can add a great deal to a crime novel. It can also add layers of character, too. And it’s realistic. After all, it’s a small world, and we do have a way of bumping up against people we used to know.

In Agatha Christie’s One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (AKA The Patriotic Murders and An Overdose of Death), for example, Hercule Poirot works with Chief Inspector Japp to find out who shot Henry Morley, a dentist who was killed one morning in his surgery. At first, it looks as though the real target might have been one of Morley’s patients, a well-known banker named Alistair Blunt. But shortly after Morley’s murder, one of his patients dies, apparently of an overdose of Novocain. And another patient goes missing.  It turns out that behind all of this is a case of one person who saw a familiar face from the past and couldn’t resist talking about it. Christie uses that plotline in other stories, too (no spoilers!).

Robert Barnard’s Death of an Old Goat is the story of the murder of Oxford Professor Belville-Smith. He’s doing a lecture tour of Australia and is making a stop at the University of Drummondale, in a small, rural town. Professor Bobby Wickham and the other members of Drummondale’s Department of English make preparations for the visit, and everyone hopes it will go well. It doesn’t. For one thing, Belville-Smith has little but contempt for his hosts, and he lets it show. For another, his lectures are, to say the least, not particularly scintillating. Even so, being insufferable and boring isn’t usually a motive for murder. So, when Belville-Smith is found dead in his hotel room one afternoon, there doesn’t seem to be a compelling motive. Still, Inspector Bert Royle has a clear-cut case of murder on his hands and is tasked with finding out who the killer is. In the end, it all comes down to someone seeing a familiar person from the past.

There’s also recognition at the heart of Jean-Denis Bruet-Ferreol’s (he goes by the name Mallock) The Cemetery of Swallows.  That novel begins as Manuel Gemoni travels from France to the Dominican town of Carabello. His purpose is to murder a Dominican citizen named Tobias Darbier. Gemoni is badly injured in the process, but he does kill Darbier. Since Gemoni is a French citizen, Amédée Mallock of the Paris CID goes to the Dominican Republic to work with the local authorities. Gemoni doesn’t protest his innocence. In fact, he says very little at all. The only thing he will say is that he killed Darbier because,
 

‘‘He had killed me first.’’
 

Gemoni is taken back to Paris to recover, but he’ll have to return to the Dominican Republic to stand trial, and that doesn’t give Mallock and his team very much time to investigate. Still, Gemoni is the brother of one of Mallock’s teammates. Besides, Mallock is sure that there’s more going on in this case than it seems on the surface. So, he looks more deeply into everything. He finds that it all has to do with something from the past.

In Karim Miské’s Arab Jazz, Paris Police Lieutenants Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot investigate the murder of Laura Vignola, whose body is found in her apartment. Ahmed Taroudant, who lives below her, discovers the body, so of course, he is immediately a ‘person of interest.’ It doesn’t help his case that he was a friend of the victim and had been in her apartment before. But something about that easy explanation just doesn’t quite fit. Besides, as the detectives learn more about Laura, they also uncover other possibilities. For one thing, she had left home to escape her parents, who are fanatic Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of them killed her because she was ‘unclean.’ There’s also the fact that there are several groups of Orthodox Muslims and Orthodox Jews in the area. Laura didn’t dress, act, or behave the way ‘proper’ Orthodox women are ‘supposed to’ do. And someone might have been willing to kill for that reason. There are other possibilities, too. In the end, it all comes down to seeing a familiar face in an unexpected situation.

And then there’s Sue Younger’s Days are Like Grass. Claire Bowerman is originally from Auckland, but has been living in London with her partner, Yossi Shalev, and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Roimata ‘Roi.’ As far as Claire is concerned, she left Auckland for a good reason, and hasn’t wanted to go back. But Yossi would like to go to New Zealand. He’s looking for some peace after living in a very dangerous Israel, and he thinks the move would be good for the family. Claire reluctantly agrees, and the family makes the trip. She’s a pediatric surgeon, so she soon finds a good position. But that’s when the trouble starts. One of her patients, two-year-old Rory Peteru, has a tumour growing on one of his kidneys. Claire wants to remove it, but the boy’s parents refuse; they believe in natural healing and religious faith, and don’t want any surgery for their son. Now, Claire is caught in what becomes a very public disagreement between the family and the hospital. When the story gets into the media, people remember Claire as the daughter of Patrick Bowerman. In 1970, seventeen-year-old Kathryn Phillips went missing. Some of the evidence linked Patrick Bowerman to the disappearance and presumed murder, and he was arrested, tried, and imprisoned. But there was never enough evidence to keep him in jail. Still, there are plenty of people who think he is guilty, and Claire doesn’t want that notoriety for herself or her family. As the story goes on, we learn the truth about Kathryn Phillips, and we see how hard it is for his daughter when people remember who she is.

We all have pasts. And you never know when someone you once knew long ago will remember you. Sometimes, that’s a great experience. But not always…

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Sammy Fain and Jack Lawrence’s Once Upon a Dream.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Jean-Denis Bruet-Ferreol, Karim Miské, Robert Barnard, Sue Younger

If You’re Going to San Francisco*

When you think of San Francisco, you may think of its world-class dining, or the cable cars, or perhaps its ‘hippie history,’ or its early history as a gold-rush town. There’s the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Castro district, and lots more to see, too. And, of course, the scenery’s lovely, even if the weather doesn’t always allow for a lot of sightseeing. There’s a vibrant mix of cultures, and lots going on culturally, too.

But if you’re a crime fiction fan, you know that San Francisco isn’t, at least fictionally, always lovely and peaceful. Plenty of crime fiction takes place in the famed City by the Bay. Here are just a few examples. I’ll bet it won’t take long for you to think of lots more.

In Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon, we meet San Francisco PI Sam Spade, and his business partner, Miles Archer. A woman who calls herself ‘Miss Wonderly’ hires Spade and Archer to find a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems he ran off with ‘Miss Wonderly’s’ sister, and she wants to find out where they are. She has an ulterior motive, but doesn’t share that with Spade and Archer. The PIs take the case, but, tragically, Archer is shot. Now, Spade has even more of a motive to want to find out the truth about this investigation. He ends up getting involved in a web of intrigue, theft, multiple murders, and a very valuable black statuette.

David Dodge’s Death and Taxes is the story of successful San Francisco accountant George MacLeod. A good deal of his success comes from his ability to find all sorts of tax loopholes for his clients. One day, he gets a new client, Marian Wolff. She wants him to help straighten out her tax situation and avoid paying any money, although she hasn’t filed her tax forms in a while. It’s not going to be easy, because her father is a well-known bootlegger who’s mixed up with all sorts of dubious people. Wolff knows he’s in a difficult situation, so he asks his business partner, James ‘Whit’ Whitney, to come back early from a business trip to help. Whit agrees, but by the time he comes back, it’s too late; MacLeod has been shot. Now, Whit’s got to find out who the killer is, and what sort of trouble his partner was in, if he’s going to stay alive himself.

Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone series is also set in San Francisco. When we first meet her, in Edwin of the Iron Shoes, she works as staff investigator for All Souls Cooperative, San Francisco’s Legal Services group. In the earlier novels especially, she’s a hard-edged PI with a very pragmatic point of view, who takes on some dangerous cases. In that sense, she paved the way for today’s ‘hardboiled’ female PI series. As the series has gone on, McCone has evolved as a character. There’s more depth to her life, and more plots and sub-plots involving family, friends, and so on. Some people argue that she’s not as ‘edgy’ as she was in the first few novels. Whether or not that’s true, Sharon McCone is certainly an important part of the fictional landscape of San Francisco.

Muller’s real-life husband is fellow crime writer Bill Pronzini, who has a long-running San Francisco PI series of his own. Pronzini’s series, which begins with The Snatch, features a PI who actually isn’t named for much of the series. So, most people refer to him as Nameless. He was a police officer who went into the PI business after one especially horrific murder. He’s a bit of a loner, but he’s not incapable of interacting effectively. And, as fans know, he’s a collector of pulp magazines like Black Mask. Nameless isn’t naïve, but he does believe that,
 

‘…the prevention of crime and the interests of justice and the law are of vital and immediate concern.’
 

His cases take him to many different parts of San Francisco, so readers get to see both the upmarket places, and the ‘down and out’ places.

In Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson’s The Nightmare Factor, we are introduced to Dr. Calvin Doohan, a transplanted Scot who now works in San Francisco for the World Health Organization. The city is hit by an outbreak of a virulent, flu-like illness that ends in death. Doctors haven’t pinpointed the cause, and now the San Francisco Department of Public Health is involved. Doohan offers his services and ends up working with a representative from the Centers For Disease Control. After a time, the cases of this illness are traced back to a group of people who attended a convention at San Francisco’s Hotel Cordoba. As Doohan gets closer and closer to the actual source of the illness, he finds that several very dangerous people don’t want him to get the answers. The closer he gets to the truth, the more at risk he is.

The first novel in Sister Carol Anne O’Marie’s series is called A Novena For Murder. In it, we are introduced to Sister Mary Helen. She’s recently traded in her traditional habit for street clothes and accepted a teaching position at San Francisco’s Mount St. Francis College For Women. She’s planning to make some updates and changes to her curriculum, but that’s all put to one side when there’s an earthquake in the area that rocks the campus. The buildings remain more or less intact, but one of the faculty, Professor Villanueva, is killed. It first, it looks like the tragic result of the earthquake. But it’s soon shown that this was a murder. The police arrest a suspect, the assistant cook; but Sister Mary is sure they have the wrong person. So, she starts asking questions.

There’s also Claire M. Johnson’s Beat Until Stiff. Mary Ryan is the pastry chef at an upmarket San Francisco restaurant called American Fare. One day she goes to the restaurant early to start preparations for an elaborate party that’s scheduled for that evening. When she goes to the laundry room to get a chef’s jacket, she finds the body of Carlos Perez, one of her assistants. Then, there’s another murder. And this time, the body is left at Ryan’s own home. Is this a case of someone trying sabotage the restaurant? Or does someone have a personal grudge against Ryan? As she searches for answers, she learns that San Francisco isn’t necessarily the safe place you see in the tourist brochures…

San Francisco has a lot to offer. Whether you like art, music, fine dining, exploring interesting areas, or history, there’s plenty there. Including crime.

 

ps. Thanks, Bay City Guide, for the lovely ‘photo!

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).

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Filed under Bill Pronzini, Claire M. Johnson, Dashiell Hammett, David Dodge, Frank Robinson, Marcia Muller, Sister Carol Anne O'Marie, Thomas N. Scortia

In The Spotlight: Rachel Abbott’s Only the Innocent

Hello, All,

Welcome to another edition of In The Spotlight. Some police cases are quite straightforward. A ‘bad guy’ commits a crime, the police investigate the case, and the culprit is caught. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the basic underlying plot. But not all cases are like that. Some crimes and investigations are morally ambivalent. And in some novels, it’s hard to tell what the right thing is to do. That’s the sort of novel Rachel Abbott’s Only the Innocent is, so let’s turn the spotlight on that novel today.

The novel begins as Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Tom Douglas and his assistant, Sergeant Becky Robinson, are called to the scene of a murder. Wealthy and well-known philanthropist Hugo Fletcher has been murdered. It’s obvious from the scene of the crime that he was killed during a sexual encounter, so, of course, the first suspect is his wife, Laura. But almost immediately, Douglas and Robinson learn that she was out of the country at the couple’s home in Italy at the time of the murder. In fact, they don’t get the chance to talk to her until she returns.

With not much to go on, Douglas and Robinson begin to look into the victim’s personal and professional lives. For that, they rely on his wife, his ex-wife, Annabelle, and his personal assistant, Jessica Armstrong. Gradually, a picture of him emerges. On the surface, he was a generous, charismatic man. He set up a scholarship fund so that young women who were trafficked into the UK could leave the streets and start new lives. He managed other charities, too, and was well-liked. And, with his money, he had access to a lot of the ‘right people.’

Beneath the surface, though, is a different sort of person. For one thing, the Fletcher marriage was not a happy one, and Douglas is certain that Laura isn’t telling everything she knows about her husband. For another, there are some disturbing financial anomalies that his PA isn’t able (or willing?) to explain. The more deeply the two detectives dig, the more darkness they find. And the more darkness they find, the more possibilities there are of people who would have wanted to kill Fletcher or have him killed. In the end, Douglas and Robinson slowly uncover the truth, and we learn who the killer is. And, as it turns out, it all comes back, as it so often does, to the sort of person Hugo Fletcher was.

In the meantime, Douglas has a personal dilemma. His ex-wife, Kate, wants to come back into his life. He’s certain that a big part of the reason is that he’s come into money, and she wants to help him spend it. But he very much wants to see more of his daughter, Lucy, and Kate has made it clear that she’s thinking of moving out of the area with Lucy. He’s going to have to come to some sort of decision about Kate and Lucy.

There are several elements of the police procedural in the novel. So, readers follow along as Douglas and Robinson make sense of the evidence, deal with forensic reports, fill in their own paperwork, and so on. There are some scenes at the police stations, and we see how Douglas interacts with his colleagues. By and large, he works well with his boss and teammates. There’s none of the backbiting, sabotage, and malice that’s sometimes a part of police procedurals where there are a lot of police politics.

The real story, though, goes beyond the details of what the police do. As the story goes on, we learn about Hugo Fletcher’s backstory and character. Through Laura’s eyes (more about that shortly), we learn how he met her, courted her, and persuaded her to marry him – and how different everything turned out from what she thought.

We also learn about Laura’s family. I can say without spoiling the story that her mother, Stella, and her brother, Will, are a part of her life, and her interactions with them give the reader perspective on her. So do her interactions with her former best friend, Imogen (who is also Will’s ex-wife).

The story is told from several different perspectives (all third person, past tense). So, readers get a ‘bird’s eye view’ of what happens from the point of view of Laura, the two police detectives, and a few of the other characters. Some of the story is also told through a series of letters that Laura writes to Imogen. Through them, we can see the story of the Fletchers’ marriage.

The truth behind the murder is sad, dark and very ugly. It’s not an easy novel to read on that score, and readers who don’t like real darkness in their novels will want to know this. That said, that darkness is much more psychological than it is physical, so there isn’t brutal violence in the story.

As I say, there’s also moral ambivalence in the novel. Several characters are faced with choices that aren’t as simple as they may seem on the surface. Readers who prefer clear-cut ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ will notice that it’s not that easy. Readers who enjoy asking, ‘What would I do?’ as they read will appreciate this.

Only the Innocent is the story of one man’s life and murder, and the impact they have on the people around him. It features several different perspectives on the victim, some very disturbing secrets, and a pair of detectives who may not like what they find, but know that they have to get to the truth. But what’s your view? Have you read Only the Innocent? If you have, what elements do you see in it?

 
 
 

Coming Up On In The Spotlight
 

Monday, 18 February/Tuesday, 19 February – The Blue Hour – Alonso Cueto

Monday, 25 February/Tuesday, 26 February – The Dark Lake – Sarah Bailey

Monday, 4 March/Tuesday, 5 March – Magpie Murders –  Anthony Horowitz

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Filed under Only the Innocent, Rachel Abbott

Fooling Myself*

As this is posted, it’s the 70th anniversary of the first staging of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Arguably, one of the important themes in the play is the inability to let go of illusions. Several characters in the play, including Willy Loman, have illusions about themselves and others, and it’s painful, even tragic, when they’re confronted with the reality.

That’s the way real life sometimes works, though. People may have illusions about their children (e.g. ‘My daughter’s just got a great job – she’s going to go to the top!’), or their own importance to their employer, or, or… Some of those illusions may be harmless enough; others are not. And when we are confronted with them, there can be any number of reactions.

It’s the same thing in crime fiction. And, because everyone’s different, an author has all sorts of options when it comes to weaving this theme into a novel. Certainly, it can add to character development as well as to the main plot.

There’s an Agatha Christie novel, for instance, in which someone’s quite illusory plans lead that person to commit more than one murder. No titles or sleuths, in the interest of spoiler-prevention. But Christie fans will know which novel I mean.

In Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, we are introduced to the Blackwood family: eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine ‘Merricat,’ her older sister Constance, and their Uncle Julian. They live in a large, isolated house near a small New England town that considers them pariahs. And we soon learn the reason. Six years before the events of this novel, three other members of the Blackwood family died of what turned out to be poison. Although no-one was ever convicted, the locals are certain that one of the remaining Blackwoods is responsible. Despite this, the family lives peacefully enough, and Merricat (from whose point of view the story is told) has developed an entire set of illusions about her life, her family’s life, and the people in the town. Everything changes when a cousin, Charles Blackwood, comes to visit. His visit sets off a chain events that ends in more tragedy. Throughout the novel, we see just how strong some of Merricat’s illusions really are.

Karin Alvtegen’s Betrayal is the story of Eva Wirenström-Berg, her husband, Henrik, and their son, Axel. Eva has always wanted the ‘white picket fence’ suburban dream, and she thinks she has it. She and Henrik have been happily married for fifteen years, and Axel is healthy and doing well.  Then, Eva’s illusions are shattered. She discovers that Henrik has been unfaithful. Devastated by this news, Eva determines to find out who the other woman is. When she does, she sets in motion her own plan. In the meantime, we also meet Jonas Hansson, who has his own issues. One night, Eva goes to a pub where she happens to meet Jonas. The two start talking, and before they know it, things spiral out of control for both. And part of the reason is that Jonas has his share of illusions, too.

In Virginia Duigan’s The Precipice, we are introduced to Thea Farmer. She’s retired from her job as a school principal and moved to the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. There, she had a custom-made house built – her dream home. But bad luck and poor financial decision-making have meant that she’s had to put that home up for sale and move into the house next door. As if that’s not enough, Thea learns that a new couple, Frank Campbell and Ellice Carrington, have bought the house she still considers hers. To add insult to injury, Frank’s niece, Kim, comes to live with them. Unexpectedly, Thea forms an awkward sort of friendship with the girl, though, and sees in her real promise as a writer. So, she’s very concerned when she begins to believe that Frank is not providing an appropriate home for Kim. When the police won’t do anything about it, she makes her own plan of action. Throughout this novel, we see how many illusions Thea has about her life, her reasons for leaving her job, her home, and much more. And those illusions play important roles in the choices that she makes.

Edney Silvestre’s Happiness is Easy introduces successful São Paolo advertising executive Olavo Bettencourt, his ‘trophy wife,’ Mara, and their son, Olavinho.  Bettencourt is very much in demand by companies that want to increase their visibility and sales. And, with Brazil’s laws about political campaigning undergoing change, Bettencourt also finds that several politicians, some of them powerful, also seek him out. This gives him a real illusion of his own importance and power. All of that changes when a gang decides to kidnap Olavinho. By accident, they abduct the wrong boy (they take the son of Bettencourt’s housekeeper), and are now caught in a dangerous web. In the meantime, Bettencourt has a serious dilemma. The more public he goes with the kidnapping situation, the more likely it is that some ugly truths about his business dealings will come out. And that could mean major legal trouble for him. But he can’t be seen to be doing nothing. As the story goes on, he learns the hard way that he doesn’t have nearly as much power as he thinks he does.

And that’s the thing about illusions. It can be very hard to let go of them, but it can be at least as dangerous not to do so. And illusions can serve some effective purposes in a crime novel.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Edney Silvestre, Karin Alvtegen, Shirley Jackson, Virginia Duigan