Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Suspect, L. R. Wright

A quietly satisfying mystery novel, remniscent of Simenon: one finds out WhoDunIt in the first pages, but the book unfolds as as WhyDunIt, a masterful character study set in a small town in British Columbia featuring a Royal Mountie detective, a librarian, and two old men, principally, but other characters are quickly and deftly sketched.

There is very little violence, except implied, or recalled: the murder of one very old man by another very old man. The reason for the crime comes out slowly, through flashbacks. The tremendous natural landscape of BC plays a role too, as a destructive force each character struggles against, as a creative force each character struggles to find a nourishing spot within.

Sleep while I Sing takes place after The Suspect: the detective and the librarian are repeating characters, and their relationship, romantic, emotional and intellectual, is important in both books.

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