Sunday, November 29, 2020

My People, by Liza Cody

 "My People," by Liza Cody, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, November/December 2020.

This is Liza Cody's second appearance here.  It is not a conventional crime story a much as a reflection on the fact that, as another British author noted, "a policeman's lot is not a happy one."

I was standing with five other people, arms linked,. protecting a man dressed as a giant cauliflower who had superglued himself to Lambeth Bridge.

Well.  That's an opening gambit that certainly caught my attention.

Shareen Manasseh is our narrator, a Jewish woman whose family came to Britain from India.  She joined the police force and, without much training, was assigned to infiltrate the climate change activists - she calls them rebels - who shut down much of London and were threatening to do it again.

Her time with that group has her rethinking her allegiance.  Did she become a cop to get "black-and-white certainty" or because it was better "to be with the bullies than against them.  I was tired of being picked on; I just want to belong." 

Shareen's loyalties are put to the test when a protester is found dead.  Was this just an accident? Was he beaten in police custody?    Or is there a red wolf among the green lambs?

And most importantly: Is Shareen thinking like a cop or a rebel?

A fine  story with a lot of food for thought.

1 comment:

  1. The story reminded me of times I experienced as a police officer and the need to be a professional liar.