Tuesday, June 4, 2019
This is Larson's second appearance here.
I have written here before about didactic mysteries, tales which teach you about some subject as you enjoy the story. This is a good example.
The narrator is the police chief of a small town in New York. He has joined a group called the Slim Janes, not for professional reasons, but to watch his diet. Oops! Don't call it a diet. They call it a Way of Eating, or WOE.
And he is learning so much about WOEs that his head is swimming, but then he is called away on a case. Becca, one of the groups leaders, is hospitalized after a bad reaction to food. Allergy? Poison? Shoddy vegan supplements?
To get to the bottom of it all the chief has to learn a lot about how different diets work. It's clever, informative, and best of all, the solution really does depend on what he learns.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
I always warn you if there is a factor outside of a story's own merits that could cause me to favor it. Usually that means the author is a friend or blogmate of mine. In this case the reason for full disclosure is somewhat different: Ms. Larson, who I don't know, sent me a copy of this magazine's first issue.
But I definitely enjoyed her story the most of any I read this week, which is the rule for this column. This is a story about a police chief investigating a crime, which is no surprise, but the crime is unusual and so is the investigation.
Someone has shot a deer a day before the season opens. That's illegal but what outrages the chief is that the poacher, not having made a clean kill, allows the deer to limp away to die in misery. And so, rather than hunting the bad guy, our hero goes off in search of the victim, to finish the job as mercifully as possible. Along the way he ponders all his suspects and figures out who the shooter must be. It's a clever approach.
I do have a caveat. A few weeks ago in this space I wrote about dialect, and how less is more. One of Larson's characters talks like this: "I sayed I was trackin' 'im. I didn't say I'd shot him! Like yuz, I heard the shot is all." That is more dialect than I, for one, need.
Best of luck to thenew magazine.