Category Archives: Scott Turow

Clear the Air*

Most of us keep at least some things to ourselves – things we may not even tell our partners. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be a terrible thing. We all have our private histories and thoughts. But there are some things that are actually very much better shared.

When people keep too many of the wrong secrets, it can lead to misunderstanding or worse, much of which could be prevented with an honest discussion. Of course, that can be harder to do than it is to write about. But keeping the wrong secrets can be even harder.

For example, in Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Captain Hastings goes to Styles Court, Essex, to visit his friend, John Cavendish. Cavendish lives there with his wife, Mary; his brother, Lawrence; his stepmother, Emily Inglethorp; her husband, Alfred; her ward, Cynthia Murdoch; and, her friend, Evelyn Howard. One night during Hastings’ visit, Emily Inglethorp is murdered. The Cavendish brothers do not want the police brought in, because of the potential for scandal. But they are finally persuaded to ask Hercule Poirot (who makes his début in this novel), to look into the matter. Among other things, he finds that a few of the characters have kept secrets from others that would have been better told. At the very least, it would have prevented several of the misunderstandings that impede Poirot’s investigation.

Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent features Kindle County Deputy Prosecutor Rožat ‘Rusty’ Sabich. When a colleague, Carolyn Polhemus, is murdered, Sabich’s boss, Raymond Horgan, assigns him to work on the investigation. Sabich starts the job, but he doesn’t tell his boss something important: he had a relationship with Polhemus. It ended a few months before she was murdered, but it’s still relevant. When Horgan finds out about the affair, he’s furious. He takes the case away from Sabich, and gives it to one of Sabich’s rivals, Tommy Molto. Before long, the evidence begins to suggest that Sabich might be the murderer. In fact, it’s so compelling that Sabich is arrested for the crime. He hires Alejandro ‘Sandy’ Stern to defend him and begins to try to clear his name. While it might have been a risk to admit the relationship, it’s also possible that it might have made things easier for Sabich in the long run.

We might say a similar thing about Martin Clark’s Mason Hunt, whom we meet in The Legal Limit. He’s a prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, serving Patrick County. His past comes back to haunt him when his brother, Gates, is arrested for cocaine trafficking and given a long prison term. Gates asks Mason to help get him out of prison, but Mason refuses. Then, Gates threatens that if his brother doesn’t help, he’ll implicate him in an unsolved murder. Years earlier, Mason was present when his brother shot a romantic rival. At the time, he helped Gates cover up the crime out of a sense of filial loyalty. But now, he finds himself in deep trouble when Gates threatens to tell the police it was Mason who committed the murder. When Mason refuses to help his brother, Gates follows through on his threat, and Mason finds himself accused of murder. For a time, he doesn’t share much of what’s going on with his assistant prosecutor, Custis Norman. That proves to be a mistake, as it raises up a barrier between the two men and makes it harder for Norman to help his boss. It’s not until Hunt tells Norman the truth that he can really get the benefit of his help.

Kirsten McDougall’s Tess begins as Lewis Rose is driving towards his home in the Wellington region of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s pouring down rain, and Rose notices a young woman standing by the road, getting soaked. He offers her a lift, she accepts, and he drops her off not far from a local hostel. The next day, Rose sees some thugs harassing the woman, and rescues her. He takes her to his home and offers to let her stay there. He’s got plenty of room; so, with no other better alternatives, she agrees. It’s soon clear that the young woman, who says her name is Tess, is suffering from an internal infection. Rose gets her medication, and cares for her, and she slowly begins to get better. All the time, though, she is keeping an important secret from him and from his daughter, Jean, who comes for an extended visit. That secret plays an important role in the reason Tess is more or less homeless. And it has a major impact on the family. While Tess has her reasons for not sharing that secret, it might have been easier all around if she had confided it.

Donna Morrissey’s The Fortunate Brother is the story of the Now family, who lives in the Beaches, Newfoundland. Sylvanus Now, his wife, Addie, and their son, Kyle, are still reeling from the death three years earlier of the oldest Now child, Chris. His death was accidental, but that doesn’t make it any easier to cope. It’s not any easier, either, for Kyle’s sister, Sylvie, who now lives on her own. The family really hasn’t started to heal yet, but they’re getting by as best they can. Then, a local bully named Clar Gillard is murdered. No-one in the area is sorry to have him gone; but, of course, the police have to find out who the killer is. And, little by little, they find evidence that implicates more than one member of the Now family. As the investigation goes on, the Nows have to cope with the fact that they are all under suspicion. It’s hard, but they do start to draw closer to each other. And, as the story goes on, several truths come out that might have been better told earlier. Once the air is cleared and the truth is told, the family can start the work of healing.

And that’s the thing about some secrets. We all have our private truths. But some of them really do need to be told. The alternative can be misunderstanding or worse.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is the title of a song by Off With Their Heads.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Donna Morrissey, Kirsten McDougall, Martin Clark, Scott Turow

When You’re Twins, the Magic Just Never Ends*

One of Ronald Knox’s rules for detective fiction holds that,
 

‘Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.’
 
The idea here was that it’s not fair to the reader to raise that question of identification. And, of course, crime fiction fans do want the author to ‘play fair.’

And yet, there are lots of twins in crime fiction. Some of them are identical, and some are fraternal. All of them, though, seem to have a unique sort of relationship – one that we don’t always see among other siblings. And it’s interesting to see how twins are treated in crime fiction.

For instance, in Josephine Tey’s Brat Farrar, we are introduced to the various members of the Ashby family, a once-‘better’ family that’s fallen upon very hard times. But that’s about to change for Simon Ashby. When he turns twenty-one, he’s set to inherit a vast fortune. Out-of-work actor Alec Loding knows this, as he knows the Farrar family very well. He also knows that Simon had a twin brother, Patrick, who was believed to have committed suicide years earlier. One day, Loding meets an ex-pat American, Brat Farrar, who looks a lot like the Ashby twins. That gives him the idea that Farrar should impersonate Patrick. Since Patrick was the older twin, if Farrar can pull off the deception, he’s set to inherit a lot of money. All Loding wants is a part of that fortune. Farrar agrees and plans are laid. But it’s not going to be as easy as it seems. As it turns out, Patrick did not commit suicide. Instead, he was murdered. Now, the same person intends to try again, this time more successfully.

Matthew Gant’s short story The Uses of Intelligence introduces readers to eleven-year-old twins Patty and Danny Perkins. They’re both exceptionally intelligent, with genius-level IQs, and a strong bond. One day, they discover that an acquaintance of theirs, banana seller Aristos Depopoulos, has been killed. At first, it looks as though he was killed by one of the workers at a nearby construction site. But the Perkins twins aren’t so sure of that and decide to find out the truth for themselves. When they discover who killed Depopoulos, they engage in a little blackmail, hoping to profit from what they know. What they haven’t counted on is that they’re not the only ones who are geniuses…

In Peter Corris’ The Dying Trade, Sydney PI Cliff Hardy gets a call from wealthy Bryn Gutteridge, who wants to consult him on a ‘private’ matter. Hardy agrees to at least talk to the man and goes to his home. It seems that Bryn’s twin sister, Susan, is being harassed and threatened. Bryn wants it to stop, so he wants to hire Hardy to find out who’s responsible. On the surface, Susan Gutteridge doesn’t seem to have any enemies. She works with several social causes and hasn’t attracted negative attention. What’s more, she’s not in good health, spending her share of time at a private clinic. There doesn’t seem to be much motive there, either. The twins’ father, Mark Gutteridge, made quite a lot of money, but was, according to his widow, a swindler. So, it’s possible one of his enemies has decided to target Susan. Bit by bit, Hardy learns some of the family history and some family secrets that play their roles in what’s been happening. He also discovers how that all ties in with Mark Gutteridge’s business practices. In the end, he finds out who’s behind the harassment.

Scott Turow’s Identical is the story of twins Cass and Paul Gianis. Paul is leading in the race to become mayor of Kindle County, and his prospects look good. But then, everything changes. Cass is released from prison after serving 25 years for the beating death of his girlfriend, Aphrodite (Dita) Kronon. Her brother Hal believes that Paul was also involved in some way, and wants the case investigated. For his part, Paul doesn’t want this matter raked up, and sues for defamation. But, for his own reasons, Hal is very much opposed to Paul becoming mayor and will do what he needs to do to prevent that. That conflict between the families means that some very dark secrets are going to be raked up.

Of course, not all twins have a lot in common. For example, Teresa Solana’s Barcelona PIs Eduard and Josep ‘Borja’ Martínez are twins, but they’re very different. They don’t look much alike, they have different politics, and they have different temperaments. Borja is more extroverted, more willing to take risks, and better able to ‘sell’ clients on the brothers’ services. Eduard is a little more stable, a planner, and, perhaps, more realistic. They are complementary, but their differences can sometimes lead to friction.

Detective Inspector Kim Stone, whom we first meet in Angela Marsons’ Silent Scream, had a difficult, sometimes quite traumatic childhood. She spent quite a lot of time in the care system, and that’s given her, in a way, a hard edge. She’s not what you’d call dysfunctional, but she does have her issues. One of the things that haunts her is that she had a twin brother, Mikey, who died when they were children. She slowly comes to terms with that tragedy as time goes by, but it’s still hard for her. And, as we learn what happened in their childhoods, we see why.

Priscilla Masters’ Martha Gunn is the coroner for Shrewsbury, which means she gets involved in all cases of unnatural death. As if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she is the mother of twins Sukey and Sam, who are twelve when the series begins. They have different interests and friends, so Gunn does the best that she can to treat them as unique individuals. In some ways, they are quite different, too. But they also have their own special connection.

There are a lot of other stories in which twins figure (I know, Agatha Christie fans. It’s just hard to mention those examples without spoilers…). It’s a fascinating relationship and can make for character layers and plot points in a crime novel. And that gives an author all sorts of possibilities.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Philip Bailey and Little Richard’s Twins.

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Filed under Angela Marsons, Josephine Tey, Matthew Gant, Peter Corris, Priscilla Masters, Ronald Knox, Scott Turow, Teresa Solana

She Planted the Evidence on Me*

One part of investigating a crime is, of course, looking at the evidence. Some evidence is physical, and some is not. Taken as a whole, though, evidence is a critical part of making a case against a suspect.

There’s a challenge, though, with relying on evidence. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether a piece of evidence is real, or has been planted to frame someone. That does happen in real life, and it can serve as an interesting plot point in crime fiction, too. It’s got to be done carefully, though, because it’s not as easy as you might think to plant evidence. Still, when it is done well, that plot point can add to a story.

Agatha Christie made use of planted evidence in several of her stories. In Sad Cypress, for instance, Elinor Carlisle stands trial for the murder of Mary Gerrard. There is plenty of evidence against her, too. For one thing, her former fiancé, Roderick ‘Roddy’ Welman, became infatuated with Mary. His feelings for her resulted in the breakup of his engagement to Elinor. For another thing, Elinor’s wealthy aunt, Laura Welman, was especially interested in Mary, and wanted her to be well provided for in her will. This could mean that Elinor would be cut out of the will, or at least get much less money. Local GP Peter Lord has become smitten with Elinor, and wants her name cleared. He asks Hercule Poirot to investigate, and Poirot agrees. In the end, he finds out the truth. But at one point, he has to deal with some planted evidence that confuses matters. I know, fans of Murder on the Orient Express.

James Yaffe’s A Nice Murder For Mom, introduces readers to Dave, a New York City police detective. He’s recently widowed, and has decided that he needs a change of scene, as New York is too painful for him. So, he accepts a job as an investigator for the Public Defender’s Office in Mesa Grande, Colorado. It’s a new beginning, and the job isn’t that demanding. But then, there’s a murder. Stuart Bellamy, a member of Mesa Grande College’s English Department, is killed in his home. Most of the members of the department had very good reason to want Bellamy killed. There are other people, too, with motive. But the one person who can’t prove an alibi is Bellamy’s colleague, Mike Russo. And there’s evidence against him, too, including his admitting that he hated the victim. Russo is arrested, but he claims that he is innocent. He doesn’t deny his motive, but he says he’s not guilty. He asks Dave to help clear his name, and Dave looks into the matter. And he finds that someone has cleverly faked evidence to frame Russo.

The focus of Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent is the murder of Carolyn Polhemus, who was a prosecuting attorney for fictional Kindle County. Her boss, Kindle County Prosecutor Raymond Horgan wants this case investigated ‘by the book,’ and solved quickly. He assigns Rožat ‘Rusty’ Sabich, his best deputy prosecutor, to the case, and Sabich gets to work. What Sabich hasn’t told his boss, though, is that he had a relationship with Polhemus. It ended several months before her death, but the fact certainly compromises his investigation. When Horgan finds out, he’s understandably angry, and pulls Sabich from the case. Then, evidence starts to turn up that implicates Sabich in the murder. It’s so compelling, in fact, that he is arrested for the crime. He hires Alejandro ‘Sandy’ Stern to defend him, and the two begin to work to find out who the real killer is. I can say without spoiling the story that planted evidence plays a role in it.

It plays a role in Helene Tursten’s The Glass Devil, too. In that novel, schoolteacher Jacob Schyttelius is shot. Göteborg homicide detective Irene Huss and her team begin the investigation. Very soon, they learn that Schyttelius’ parents have also been murdered; they were killed just hours before he was. At first, these murders look like the work of a Satanic group, and that wouldn’t be impossible. But it soon becomes clear that that evidence has been planted to sidetrack the police. Another possibility is that someone has a grudge against the family. But they were well-enough liked and considered ‘respectable,’ so it’s hard to work out who might hate them that much. The trail is complicated, and has much to do with the past. But, in the end, Huss finds out the truth.

In Mick Herron’s Down Cemetery Road, Sarah Tucker gets involved in a web of murder, conspiracy, and more. It all starts when a house near hers explodes, killing its owners, Thomas and Maddie Singleton. Strangely enough, their four-year-old daughter, Dinah, is not found, and Sarah worries for the child. But it’s soon clear that no-one will answer her questions or help her find the girl. Something is being hidden, and she wants to know what it is. So, she hires Oxford Investigations, which is run by Joe Silvermann and Zoë Boehm. Silvermann gets to work on the case, but he soon warns Sarah away from it. He’s uncovered information that suggests that there’s much more going on here than a child who’s wandered off, or been abducted. Sarah insists that she wants answers, though, and Silvermann reluctantly agreed. Then, he’s found murdered. What’s worse, someone plants evidence that suggests he was a drug dealer, and Sarah was one of his customers. This puts her squarely at the heart of the investigation into his death. Now, she’s going to have to get answers on her own.

And then there’s Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood. In that novel, a group of people gather for a weekend ‘hen do’ for Clare Cavendish. The house they’re using belongs to the aunt of Florence ‘Flo’ Clay, who’s put the whole party together. It’s in a lonely, secluded place, so the partygoers are very much on their own. Or are they? There’s evidence that someone may be watching them. If so, who is it? That in itself makes everyone uneasy. Some past history also comes up, which only adds to the awkwardness and discomfort. Things gradually spin out of control, and what’s supposed to be a fun weekend turns sinister. As protagonist Leonora ‘Nora’ Shaw tries to piece everything together, we find that planted evidence plays an important role in the story.

Of course, any good investigator will pay attention to all the evidence. But it’s just as important to be aware that some of that evidence may be planted. The challenge is to separate that from the evidence that’s genuine.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Cliff Carlisle and Mel Foree’s The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Helene Tursten, James Yaffe, Mick Herron, Ruth Ware, Scott Turow

It Happened Just This Way*

If you read police procedurals, then you’re familiar with the way fictional police use evidence to try to work out what happened when there’s a crime. Real police do the same thing. So do attorneys, both real and fictional, when they defend or prosecute. In those cases, solving a crime is a matter of working out which of more than one possible explanation is the real one. The evidence is, of course, very important, but sometimes, there’s more than one way to explain that evidence.

For many readers, part of the appeal of reading a who/howdunit is matching wits with the author and trying to work out what all of the evidence and clues mean. For instance, in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, wealthy American businessman Samuel Ratchett is murdered on the second night of a train journey on the world-famous Orient Express. Hercule Poirot is on the same train, and he works to find out who the killer is. There are several clues, too: a pipe cleaner, a handkerchief, and a smashed watch are just a few of them. It falls to Poirot, Dr. Constantine (who happens to be on board), and M. Bouc (a train company director) to make sense of the evidence and decide which possible explanation accounts for all of the clues. And they do. But I can say without spoiling the story that there is more than one plausible explanation.

There is in Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent, too. In that novel, the Kindle County Prosecutor’s Office is rocked when one of their attorneys, Carolyn Polhemus, is murdered. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rožat ‘Rusty’ Sabich is assigned to the case, with the understanding that this investigation has top priority. The evidence is collected, and the prosecution team, with the help of the police, begin to make sense of it. Very soon, though, a major problem arises. It turns out that Sabich had a relationship with the victim. It was over by the time of the murder, but he never admitted it. Keeping that secret has compromised the investigation, and Sabich is pulled from the case. Then, things quickly get worse. More evidence turns up that implicates Sabich. In fact, it’s compelling enough that he’s arrested. He hires Alejandro ‘Sandy’ Stern to defend him, and the two get to work. In this case, Sabich and Stern have to provide an alternative account of the murder that explains all of the evidence, including the incriminating evidence. And, of course, that’s what any defending counsel is supposed to do, if you think about it.

There are a lot of other examples – far too many for me to mention in a blog post – of novels in which readers follow along and try to work out which explanation best accounts for all of the evidence. For the reader, it’s an invitation to engage with the story. For the author, it’s a way to misdirect, if that’s what the author wants. It’s also a way to invite readers to be a part of the story.

That’s part of why I invited you to draw your own conclusions about what happened in a flash fiction post I called List of Contents. If you want to refresh yourself, you can check it out right here.

I really enjoyed the different explanations you offered about the evidence that was found in the victim’s condominium. They were interesting, they accounted for what was on the lists, and they made sense. In a very real way, I’m glad I didn’t share what I had in mind when I drew up the list. It was lots more fun to learn from what you suggested, and it allowed you to come to your own conclusions without my influence.

But…I’ve been asked to share what really happened. The challenge with doing that is that you folks came up with some equally plausible stories, any of which could have been the truth. So, keep in mind that what I’m about to tell you is only what I thought of when I drew up this list. Ready? Here goes:

Janice Draper was an upmarket sex worker who worked under the professional name Rose Dawn. She used the condominium to meet with her clients. She usually vetted each carefully, for her own safety. What she didn’t tell those clients was that she also kept incriminating photographs and other evidence – just in case she ever needed it.

One evening, ‘just in case’ happened. She had an appointment with Ken Hartigan, one of her newer clients. He brought Indian food; she provided the champagne. After the meal and lovemaking, he refused to pay, claiming that he’d decided to run for public office, and didn’t want any questions raised about his finances or character. Naturally, Janice wasn’t pleased with this, and an argument ensued. He pushed her, and she threatened to call the police. The argument got more heated, and she told him about the photographs. That’s when he smashed her telephone. Unwisely, she told him she used another telephone for business, and he smashed that one, too. She then tried to get up and leave, but he blocked her. She tried to push him away, and he lost control of his temper, strangling her. Now in a panic, he threw one of the smashed telephones away – the one he thought had the pictures on it. Then he left.

See? There’s definitely more than one possible explanation for that list of contents. Mine’s only one of them. You folks came up with some fine ones, too, for which thanks.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Tom T. Hall’s Harper Valley PTA.

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Scott Turow

Know the Word’s ‘Discreet’ With Part-Time Lovers*

A police investigation is supposed to be objective. That is to say, individual police are not supposed to investigate cases if they have close ties to one of the people involved (e.g. the victim, or one of the suspects). That makes sense, too, especially if that relationship makes the police officer a ‘person of interest.’

And, yet, if you look at crime fiction, you see several novels and stories in which the sleuth does have a close tie to either the victim or a suspect. Whether or not that plot point works depends a lot on the author’s way of handling it. Sometimes, it can be successful. Sometimes, it pushes the limits of credibility. I was reminded of this by an interesting comment exchange with Bill Selnes, at Mysteries and More From Saskatchewan. You’ll want to make that excellent blog one of your blog stops; I know it’s a must-visit for me. It’s a treasure trove of rich reviews and news about, especially, Canadian crime fiction.

In Agatha Christie’s The Murder on the Links, Hercule Poirot receives a letter from Paul Renauld, a Canadian émigré to France. In the letter, Renauld claims that his life is in danger, and makes reference to a secret that he has. He then pleads for Poirot to come to his aid. Poirot and Captain Hastings make the trip to France, only to find that Renauld has been killed. The investigation is in the hands of M. Giraud of the Sûreté, but Poirot feels an obligation to his now-dead client, so he looks into the matter. It turns out that there’s more than one possible suspect, and Poirot’s task is not made any easier by the relationship that Hastings develops with one of the ‘people of interest’ in the case.

Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent introduces readers to Rožat ‘Rusty’ Sabich, a Deputy Prosecutor for Kindle County, and a respected attorney. When another prosecuting attorney, Carolyn Polhemus, is murdered, the rest of the team goes full out to find her killer, and Sabich is put in charge of the investigation.  What he doesn’t tell anyone, though, is that he had an intimate relationship with the victim. It didn’t last, and it was over by the time she was killed. But it still puts Sabich very, very close to the case. Still, the investigation gets underway, and it soon comes out that Polhemus had a complicated personal life, as well as a complex past. So, there are several possible leads. Then, Sabich’s boss, Raymond Horgan, learns of Sabich’s affair with the victim. He immediately takes Sabich off the case and replaces him with another prosecutor, Tommy Molto. Sabich’s decision to keep quiet about his relationship adds fuel to the proverbial fire when he himself becomes a suspect, and ends up on trial for the murder.

T.J. Cooke’s Defending Elton features solicitor Jim Harwood. He gets involved in a case of murder when the body of Sarena Gunasekera is found at the bottom of a cliff at Beachy Head, near Eastbourne. It’s soon clear that the victim was murdered (i.e. this isn’t a case of an accidental fall or a suicide). The most likely suspect in the case is a mentally troubled young man named Elton Spears. He has a history of inappropriate contact with women, and he was known to be in the area at the time of the death. Spears is unable to defend himself against the charges; in fact, he’s quite inarticulate. Still, Harwood knows the young man, and takes the case. He works with his colleague, Loren Granger, and with barrister Harry Douglas to clear Spears’ name. All along, though, there’s a secret relationship with the victim that’s woven through the novel, that profoundly impacts the case, and that would change everything, were it known.

Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion is the first of her Anna Travis novels. In it, Travis joins the Murder Squad at Queen’s Park, London, just as the team is investigating a series of murders. Thus far, the victims have been older prostitutes. This time, though, the victim is seventeen-year-old Melissa Stephens. There is a possibility that the killings were committed by the same person; many things about the deaths are the same. But this victim was not only young, but also not a prostitute. So, it’s just as likely that she was killed by someone else. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) James Langton, Travis, and the rest of the team work to find out the truth. One very likely suspect is beloved television actor Alan Daniels. But the team will have to be very careful. Daniels, is wealthy, charming, and well-connected. If he’s the killer, the team will have to have incontrovertible evidence. Daniels and Travis meet, and he wants to see her to ‘help out the case’ if he can. On the one hand, Travis doesn’t lie about his interest in her (and, truth be told, she finds him intriguing, too). Her colleagues know that she sees him socially; in fact, they use that opportunity to support her as she tries to get information from him. On the other hand, more than once, she doesn’t tell her colleagues about every time that he calls and visits. It’s a very delicate situation, especially if Daniels is the killer. And it leads to some real tension in the story.

And then there’s Gordon Ell’s The Ice Shroud. That’s the novel that sparked the comment exchange I had with Bill. The body of Edie Longstreet is retrieved from the icy waters near Queenstown, on New Zealand’s South Island. Detective Sergeant (DS) Malcolm Buchan has recently moved from Dunedin to head the local Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). This is his first murder investigation with this team (although not his first murder case), so he wants to ‘make good.’ As the team looks into the killing, Buchan chooses not to tell anyone that he had an intimate relationship with the victim. It ended amicably, and was completely over before she was killed. Still, he says nothing about it. On the one hand, that does, as Bill says, add tension to the story. On the other, it compromises the investigation, and you could argue that it’s not realistic.

And that’s the thing. If the author is going to include such a ‘hidden relationship,’ it’s got to be done in a credible way. And that isn’t easy to do. Thanks, Bill, for the inspiration.

 
 
 

*NOTE: The title of this post is a line from Stevie Wonder’s Part-Time Lover.

 

 

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Filed under Agatha Christie, Gordon Ell, Lynda La Plante, Scott Turow, T.J. Cooke