Category Archives: Paddy Richardson

Ridin’ the Storm Out*

Tragedies have a way of showing what people are made of, as the saying goes. Some people possess quite a bit of inner strength and resolve, but it’s not necessarily evident until something terrible happens. Then, people can show a surprising amount of resilience and strength.

That’s certainly true in real life, and it’s true in crime fiction, too. For example, in Paddy Richardson’s Traces of Red, we meet the Dickson family: Rowan Dickson, his wife, Angela, and their children, Katy and Sam. One horrible day, three members of the family are murdered. Only Katy survives, because she wasn’t at home at the time of the killings. Angela’s brother, Connor Bligh, is arrested, tried, and imprisoned for the murders. Years later, there are little pieces of evidence that suggest that Bligh might be innocent. Wellington journalist Rebecca Thorne learns of this possibility and decides to investigate. If Bligh is innocent, this could be a major story for her – one that will cement her place at the top of New Zealand journalism. Naturally, she wants to talk to Katy, but Katy is convinced of her uncle’s guilt. Besides, she’s survived the trauma of her family’s deaths, and wants no part of raking everything up again. Still, Thorne presses on, and soon finds herself closer to the case than she had imagined. Throughout the novel, Katy Dickson is a strong character who hasn’t let the deaths in her family defeat her. It’s helpful, too, that she’s got friends and family to support her.

Cat Connor’s Ellie Conway Iverson is an ex-pat New Zealander who now works as an FBI Supervising Special Agent (SSA). (Qubyte, the tenth novel in this series, has recently been released). Since her early days with the FBI, Ellie has been through more than one tragedy. I don’t want to spoil story arcs or major plot points. Suffice it to say that she’s had more than one death among people she cared about, and more than one terrible thing happen to her. But Ellie isn’t the type to give up and run away. She’s smart, capable, and determined to survive. Plus she knows how to use weapons. What’s more, she has the strong support of her team. Things may go wrong, but Ellie doesn’t quit.

In Finn Bell’s Dead Lemons, we are introduced to 37-year-old Finn Bell (yes, he shares a name with his creator). He’s at a crossroads in his life as the real action in the story begins. His marriage has ended, and a car crash has left him in a wheelchair. In part, it’s his own doing, and he admits that. His drinking led to both the car crash and his divorce. Now he has to make some difficult choices and decide what he’ll do next. He takes a cottage in the tiny town of Riverton, on New Zealand’s South Island, and arranges to meet with his assigned therapist, Betty Crowe. Then, he becomes intrigued by a mystery surrounding the cottage he’s taken. It seems that the Cotter family, who owned the cottage before Bell bought it, suffered a double tragedy. In 1988, Alice Cotter disappeared. A year later, her father, James, also disappeared. It was always believed that the Zoyls, who live not far away, were responsible for both incidents. But there’s never been any proof. In part out of curiosity, Bell starts to look into the matter. And he soon finds that crossing the Zoyls is a dangerous thing to do. But he doesn’t give up. With Betty’s help, he doesn’t give up on himself, either. Little by little, he returns to the world, if I can put it that way. He doesn’t quit, and he finds out the truth. He also finds support in the community.

Jenn Shieff’s 1950s-era The Gentleman’s Club introduces readers to Istvan Ziegler, a refugee from Hungary who’s come to Auckland to help build the Harbour Bridge. He doesn’t speak the language well, and he has no guarantee of a job, but he takes a cheap room and gets started. One day, he hears someone obviously in distress in the next room. He goes to see if he can help, and discovers Judith Curran, who’s come to Auckland to have a (then-illegal) abortion. She’s gotten an infection and is in real danger. So, Istvan nurses her as best he can, and takes care of her until she’s back on her feet. Each in a different way, Istvan and Judith become aware of Brodie House, a home for children run by Lindsay Pitcaithly. On the surface, it’s a haven for children who don’t otherwise have a place to go. But it soon comes out that some dark things may be happening there. Both Istvan and Judith are, in their ways, vulnerable. But they stick together, and, with help from some friends they make, they learn what’s going on at Brodie House, and take the risks they need to take to do something about it.

And then there’s Nathan Blackwell’s The Sound of Her Voice. In it, we meet Matt Buchanan, an Auckland police detective who’s been on the job long enough that it’s left deep scars on him. But that doesn’t stop him from wanting to solve a case from 1999: the disappearance of Samantha Coates. She went missing while coming home from school one day and hasn’t been seen since. Buchanan works other cases, of course, as the years go by. But he doesn’t give up on the Coates case. Then, small bits of evidence related to the case come up, and he’s determined to pursue those leads. And he finds that the trail may lead to something much bigger than he’d imagined. He doesn’t give up, though, and it doesn’t stop him that he may have to face some of his own monsters.

In case you hadn’t noticed, all of these novels are by New Zealand authors, and about Kiwis. I’m not a Kiwi, myself, but I can say this. These stories show two important things: Kiwis don’t give up and quit when things get difficult; and, Kiwis stick together and help each other. Doesn’t matter whether they worship in mosques, synagogues, churches, somewhere else, or nowhere at all. Kiwis stand by each other. Yesterday’s awful tragedy in Christchurch isn’t going to stop New Zealand in its tracks or make New Zealand fearful. And it’s not going to divide a group of people who stick together when the going is tough. Fear and hatred will not win. To those whose personal lives were touched by this horror, please know that millions of people, myself included, stand with you, and wish you healing. And be in no doubt: this isn’t going to stop New Zealanders from supporting each other, no matter who they are or what they believe religiously.


*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by REO Speedwagon.


Filed under Cat Connor, Finn Bell, Jen Shieff, Nathan Blackwell, Paddy Richardson

Glory – One Blaze of Glory*

There’s something about the creative drive that can be all-consuming if it’s not checked. Whether it’s art, music, dance, writing, or something else, the need to create something meaningful can be powerful.

It can also add a great deal to a crime story. That urge can, for instance, shut someone off from others. Or it can lead to all sorts of tension and conflict – or worse. The creative drive can also be an important layer of character development.

In Agatha Christie’s The Hollow, for instance, we are introduced to a sculptor named Henrietta Savernake. She is driven by her need to create, and it often impacts what she does. As the story begins, she’s having an affair with Harley Street specialist Dr. John Christow. As it happens, they are both invited to spend the weekend at the country home of Sir Henry and Lady Lucy Angkatell. On the Sunday, Christow is shot. Hercule Poirot has been invited to lunch (he is staying nearby) and arrives just after the shooting. He works with Inspector Grange to find out who would have wanted to kill the victim, and it turns out that more than one person had a motive. As a part of the investigation, he gets to know a little about Henrietta Savernake, and he learns about her creative drive. In fact, she doesn’t know how to grieve for Christow, other than by creating:

‘She stirred uneasily . . . Why had that thought come into her head?
Grief. . . . Grief. …A veiled figure . . . its outline barely perceptible–its head cowled . . . Alabaster . . .
She could see the lines of it— tall, elongated … its sorrow hidden, revealed only by the long mournful lines of the drapery. Sorrow, emerging from clear transparent alabaster.’

It’s hard for her, but she doesn’t know any other way. You’re absolutely right, fans of Five Little Pigs.

In Rex Stout’s Too Many Cooks, Nero Wolfe is persuaded to attend a meeting of Les Quinze Maîtres, the fifteen greatest chefs in the world. They will be gathering at the ultra-exclusive Kanawha Spa in West Virginia. Wolfe’s not happy, of course, at leaving his home, but this opportunity is irresistible. When he and Archie Goodwin arrive at the spa, they settle in and meet the chefs. Then, everything changes. Master chef Phillip Laszio is murdered. Suspicion immediately falls on another chef, Jerome Berin. But Wolfe doesn’t think he’s guilty. So, very much against his better judgement, he starts asking questions. Throughout the novel, it’s very clear how passionate these chefs are about their creations and what they do. That drive impacts a lot of their interactions and their views; and Wolfe, who is very much a gourmand, understands their devotion to what he considers more or less an art form.

Fans of Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn Shreve series will know that Joanne’s adopted daughter, Taylor, is a gifted artist. She is passionate about what she does and driven by her inspiration. Sometimes, that makes her difficult to be around, but it is an essential part of her character. And fans of this series will know that Taylor’s biological mother, Sally, was also a gifted artist who was driven by creativity.

Many journalists are driven by and passionate about their work. One the one hand, this can push them to write excellent stories and essays. On the other hand, that drive can have a real impact on a journalist’s personal life and even professional connections. For example, in Paddy Richardson’s Traces of Red, we are introduced to Wellington journalist Rebecca Thorne. She loves what she does, and she wants to be at the top of New Zealand’s journalism scene. But she knows that there are a lot of hungry young people coming up behind her as the saying goes. So she wants the story that will establish her. She thinks she finds that story in the case of Connor Bligh, who’s been in prison for years for the murders of his sister, her husband, and their son. Now, little pieces of evidence suggest that Bligh may be innocent. If he is, then this could be the story Thorne’s been waiting to do. She looks into the case, and soon finds herself getting closer to it than she thought she would. And the process of getting the story has real impacts on several of her relationships.

In Paul Cleave’s A Killer Harvest, we are introduced to Christchurch surgeon Dr. Toni Coleman. She’s created a surgical procedure that allows for eyes to be transplanted. She’s dedicated to perfecting the procedure, so that more people’s eyesight can be restored. One of her patients is sixteen-year-old Joshua Logan. He’s been blind all his life; but, when his father, Mitchell, is killed in the line of (police) duty, he has a chance at sight. Dr. Toni plans to transplant Mitchell’s eyes in his son. The operation seems to be a success; and, physically, Joshua begins to heal. Most importantly, he can see. At the same time, he starts to have unsettling dreams/visions. One of his new eyes is working as it should, but the other isn’t. As Joshua starts to learn to function as a seeing person, he learns some very unsettling things about his father, and that leads him to some real darkness. For Dr. Toni’s part, she is so dedicated to what she has created, that it’s hard for her to see the consequences. And that plays a role in the story.

That’s the thing about being driven by creativity. It can result in truly fine work. But it can also have serious negative consequences.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Jonathan Larson’s One Song Glory.


Filed under Agatha Christie, Gail Bowen, Paddy Richardson, Paul Cleave, Rex Stout

He Talked of Life*

Crime writers use all sorts of strategies for giving background information and clues. One of them is to use a character who tells a story. I’m not talking here of legends and myths; rather, I mean personal stories, or at least, stories of actual events. Those characters can sometimes be easily dismissed (e.g. ‘Oh, that guy? He’s always rambling about something.’). But, as any crime fiction fan knows, any story can be important…

Agatha Christie used this strategy in several of her stories. For instance, in A Caribbean Mystery, Miss Marple is staying at the Golden Palm Hotel on the Caribbean Island of St. Honoré. Courtesy of her nephew, she’s taking some time to rest and heal from a bout of illness. One day, she happens to get into a conversation with another guest, Major Palgrave. In the course of the conversation, he starts to tell her a story about a man who got away with murder more than once, and even offers to show her a picture. Then, unexpectedly, he changes the subject. There are several people around, so it’s hard to tell whose presence caused the abrupt shift. The next day, a maid finds Major Palgrave dead in his room. Then, there’s another murder. And an attempted murder. It turns out that the rather rambling story Major Palgrave was telling plays a major role in working out who the killer is and what the motive is. I see you, fans of Taken at the Flood.

In one plot thread of Tony Hillerman’s Hunting Badger, we learn of an old Ute Nation story about a man named Ironhand. According to the stories, he was almost magically able to steal Navajo sheep and escape again without being caught. On the surface of it, that seems a bit like a set of rambling myths. But, in fact, there’s truth to the story. And, when Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police hears this story from an old Ute woman, he pays attention to it. It turns out that Ironhand’s exploits are very helpful in solving the mystery of a casino robbery and an unsolved murder.

In Paddy Richardson’s Hunting Blind, we are introduced to Stephanie Anderson, who is just beginning her career as a psychiatrist. One day, she gets a new client, Elisabeth Clark. At first, Elisabeth is not open at all to the therapy process, and it’s very difficult for Stephanie to interact with her. Finally, though, Elisabeth begins to trust Stephanie. Little by little, she tells her a haunting story. Several years earlier, Elisabeth’s younger sister, Gracie, was abducted, and never found. Not even a body was recovered. Needless to say, the tragedy devastated the family and wreaked havoc on Elizabeth’s mental health. That story resonates deeply with Stephanie, who lost her own younger sister, Gemma, seventeen years earlier. In fact, the circumstances of Gemma’s disappearance are eerily similar to the story Elisabeth tells. Against her better judgement, Stephanie decides to lay her own personal ghosts to rest and find the person responsible for these abductions. So, she travels from Dunedin, where she lives and works, to her home town of Wanaka. In doing so, she finds the answers she’s been seeking.

Adrian Hyland’s Gunshot Road is the story of the murder of Albert ‘Doc’ Ozolins, a former geologist who’s been studying the area around Green Swamp Well, Northern Territory. He’s been working on some research that he thinks is significant, but even his brother hasn’t paid a lot of attention to what he says. Then, Doc is murdered. At first, it looks as though it’s the tragic end to a drunken quarrel at a nearby pub. But Aboriginal Community Police Officer (ACPO) Emily Tempest sees some evidence that suggests otherwise. As she investigates this death, she finds that the things Doc had to say are key to understanding why and by whom he was killed.

Janice MacDonald’s Another Margaret features her sleuth, sessional lecturer Miranda ‘Randy’ Craig. Years earlier, she did her master’s degree thesis on an enigmatic novelist named Margaret Ahlers. That’s how she knows that Ahlers is gone. But then, a friend tells her that a new Ahlers novel, called Seven Bird Saga, is about to be published. And Craig has the strong feeling that this isn’t a case of a manuscript stuck behind a filing cabinet or left in an attic. So, who has written the book? The closer Randy gets to the truth about that question, the more danger there is for her. Then, disaster strikes, and there’s a murder at what’s supposed to be a celebratory Homecoming weekend. Folded within this novel is the story of how Randy came to study Margaret Ahlers’ work, what happened when she did, and her search for the reclusive author. As it turns out, a key to both the current-day mystery and the original one is found in the Ahlers stories themselves.

And then there’s Apostolos Doxiadis’ Three Little Pigs. An unnamed art restorer is visiting a monastery in Switzerland, with an eye to repairing some of the frescoes in the chapel. There, he meets an old man who promises to tell him a story – ‘a good one’ – if he records it. This the art restorer agrees to do. He buys some cassettes (this part of the novel takes places in the 1970s), and the old man begins the story. It concerns the Franco family, who emigrated from Italy to the United States early in the 20th Century. The family prospered until patriarch Benvenuto ‘Ben’ killed another man in a bar fight. The dead man turned out to be the son of a notorious gangster, who then cursed the three Franco sons. The old man goes on to tell what happened to the sons, and how the curse impacted the Francos’ lives. On the surface, it sounds like an old man’s ramblings.  But it turns out to be a very important story.

There are a number of ways in which an author can use those seemingly meaningless, even rambling stories. When they’re done well, they can add interest to a novel. They can also serve as clues and can provide important information.


*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Jerry Jeff Walker’s Mr. Bojangles.


Filed under Adrian McKinty, Agatha Christie, Apostolos Doxiadis, Janice MacDonald, Paddy Richardson, Tony Hillerman

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.


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.


Filed under Carl Hiaasen, Donna Leon, Martin Walker, Paddy Richardson, Robin Cook