Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Raider, by Janice Law

"The Raider," by Janice Law, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, March 2014.

Can you set a mystery story in a war?

Of course, you can.  There are plenty of examples, but it seems odd.  Hundreds or thousands of people getting killed and somehow we choose to focus on one death and say that one was wrong.

This was brought to mind by an excellent story by my fellow SleuthSayer, Janice Law.  It is set during the Bleeding Kansas period, a few years before the Civil War when people were in brutal combat over whether that territory would be a free or slave state.

They were burned out on the spring of '56 in a raid that left nothing but the walls of the soddy and a few chickens that flew down out of the oak trees and pecked through the debris.  His father sat by the ruins of the new barn with his head in his hands and his face the color of ashes....

Young Chad wants to get a horse and seek revenge.  He gets his wish and the story turns grim.  In a situation like this, maybe there can't be any good guys.

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