Sunday, August 19, 2018
I tend to think of didactic mysteries as being limited to novel-length, but they don't have to be. The term simply means a piece of fiction that attempts to teach something, rather than just entertain. Think of Dick Francis's novels that usually explore some industry or other field of endeavor: painting, trucking, glassblowing, investment banking...
Brosky's excellent story has an element of that. He wants to tell you about the life of tigers in Siberia.
Roxy is a young American biologist. She and her mentor, Dr. Siddig, have been called to investigation what appears to be a killing by a big cat. The evidence of footprints and corpse show that the tiger had a big meal of the flesh of a local man. But the evidence does not prove that the man was alive when the tiger arrived.
The villagers are ready to hunt and kill the beast. Can the scientists prove it is innocent of the killing - if indeed it is?
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
A nice story by my fellow Sleuthsayer, Eve Fisher, set as many of her stories are, in South Dakota.
The narrator is a woman in her thirties who has moved into an apartment house filled mostly with older people and thinks that's just fine. Then a wave of new divorcees come in and, alas, they are the "mean girls" from high school. Lots of requests for favors and "Is your husband out of prison yet?"
One of them disappears rather scandalously and then her body is discovered even more so. The obvious suspect turns out to have an alibi. Can our hero spot the killer before somebody else gets tagged?
I can't remember the last time an actual whodunit made it onto my best of the week page. Well done.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
This is an anthology of crime stories about voter suppression, with the profits going to the ACLU Foundation. It starts out with this light piece set in Massachusetts.
Our narrator is Thomas Coffee, a private eye who is hired by a rather obnoxious woman to find her father who vanished a few hours earlier. In fact, a whole segment of the town has disappeared. On the very day of the traditional New England town meeting. Hmm...
Here is a bit of the flavor of the place and the story:
In 1903 the Joppa Town Meeting accepted, by a vote of 128 to 126, a twenty-thousand dollar library grant from Andrew Carnegie. The close vote showed that the only thing flinty New Englanders trusted less than outsiders was outsiders with money.
They may have a point. Fun story anyway.