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Pahud & Langlamet play Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto
|My dad reading Pat McManus to my mother.|
For Thanksgiving week I traveled to Florida to visit my parents. As I said last time, the day I left for Israel, my mother was admitted to the hospital. My mother is now in a rehab place called The Manor where they are trying to get her to walk and balance. It was a nice week. Every day I went and visited her.
In the mornings we sat in a courtyard at The Manor. I sat in the cafeteria with her where we met some very interesting people. The two men there are Vietnam Vets. Bill (at the table) was an airplane mechanic for the cargo planes. He was stationed on almost every far Asian country during the war.
The other, Bob, was a boom operator on B-52s and F-4s. He said it took three officers to get him off the ground so he could lie down and pass gas.
My dad, also a career airman (he spent the Vietnam War in Turkey) is just out of sight.
In the afternoon I checked my mother out and we watched the sunset on a beach just down the road from The Manor.
In the evening my father read to my mother in the commons room at the manor while I painted. I was painting Christmas cards. A group playing dominoes at a nearby table were listening to my dad read. They then oohed and aahed over my Christmas Cards so naturally I had to give each one a card, with their name on it.
I could tell you a story about each of those people at the table playing dominoes and maybe I will in a later post. I had not had so much fun since I was in college, getting to know so many different people.
But on to the review:
Yesterday's Papers by Martin Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Finding this book at an Ollie's store was a happy accident. I got it for a dollar and I could not resist the edition put out by Crime Classics.
Harry Devlin is a lawyer (or solicitor as they say across the pond), but cannot resist a good mystery. A man by the name of Miller approaches him and tells him of a miscarriage of justice that happened back in the sixties. A teenage girl, Carole Jefferies, left her home one night and never returned. Her body was found in a nearby park in the bushes. A neighbor, a socially awkward and anti-social teenage boy by the name of Edwin Smith, confesses to the crime.
Edwin in great detail describes Jefferies on the night of her murder, what she was wearing, what she was strangled with and why he murdered her (she rebuffed his advances in the rudest terms).
Later, however, Edwin recants, but no one, including his lawyer believes him. He is sentenced to be hanged, but tries to kill himself first. By the time he has recovered from his attempted suicide, the death penalty in the U.K. has been outlawed. Nevertheless, Edwin shortly afterward succeeds in killing himself. Case closed.
But now this strange little man, Miller, insists that Edwin Smith was innocent and he was going to find the real murderer. Would Devlin join him?
Without exaggeration this may be one of the best developed mysteries I've ever read. I love most mysteries I read, but the ending often is a let down. It's more like, "Oh. (shrug) It was that one.
Not in this mystery. There are many positive elements and let me try to list them:
There is no dead time. While this is not a thriller, it's definitely told in a way that the author keeps dropping bread crumbs and the reader keeps following close behind picking them up. Each crumb is significant and leads up to something else later in the story. When we get to the climatic ending, we don't shrug. There are many surprises in store.
Secondly, the entire story takes place in Liverpool, home of the Beatles. The Murder takes place in the sixties, even though the time setting for the story is the nineties, thirty years later. Edwards nicely creates a realistic and interesting backdrop, intertwining the two time periods. It'd make a great movie for that reason alone.
Thirdly, the characters are interesting. And, perhaps even more importantly, the good guys are likeable and realistic- not perfect, but people you'd like to get to know. The bad guys are complex. They are more sad than evil.
With the exception of a couple who were just flat out evil, or maybe I should say, pathologically narcissistic. That also was entirely in the realm of what could happen in real life. No one was so over the top, you couldn't take them seriously.
The development of the story was neatly done, all the pieces coming together in a satisfying way.
Are there any negatives? Just one, for me. Here and there spattered throughout the story, the author chose to use some foul language.
It was strange, because it was infrequent, almost as though his publishing contract said he had to have so many f-words included. They didn't seem natural and were jarring.
Well, maybe one other. I felt he harped a little too much on the fact that the sixties were when homosexuality was repealed as a crime. I mean, did this law change anyone's lifestyles? No. It's like fornication (when it was illegal), it's an unenforceable law. Too much is made out of it.
Edwards admits as much by portraying characters who belonged to the "swinging lifestyle" then. In fact he makes an interesting point how many homosexuals became gatekeepers to the music world, determining the future of many artists and their acts. (Makes you look at the early David Bowie persona in a different light. Interesting that Bowie shed the "gay" persona when he became famous enough to have autonomy over his own career.)
Which is why I gave an otherwise marvelous mystery four out of five stars. Without the language it would have been my idea of a perfect mystery.
View all my reviews
And before we go a few more photos of Israel:
Here is the city of Capernaum.
What a treasure trove of archaeological digs!