Couple Weeks Ago: Perish the Day by John Farrow (Trevor Ferguson), 2017 (USA),
Nuts. I wrote these notes up a couple months ago and never posted them.
1999's City of Ice was a revelation when I read it. There was nothing about the story I did not enjoy. It was gritty, set in Montreal during winter, had scary bad guys, a grouchy detective in Emile Cinq-Mars, dirty slushy snow, English vs. Quebecois tensions, so on, so forth.
I continue to enjoy Farrow's novels but the recent books have become a bit gentler. Cinq-Mars has retired and the novels incorporate more of his personal life and, with his wife Sandra attending, there is more of a cozy element to the stories. There is still a core of violent people doing violent things but Ferguson has the retired Cinq-Mars going back and forth from professional to personal.
This story has Cinq-Mars and Sandra in Vermont (New Hampshire?) attending to Sandra's dying mother. Cinq-Mars and CO. are also there for the college graduation of Sandra's niece. Lo and behold there is a murder on campus. Cinq-Mars and Sandra do discuss how murder seems to find Cinq-Mars or vice-versa.
Throughout the novel Ferguson has several interesting observations. Most of which I forgot because I did not write them down. There are the several pointed observations on the differences between Canadian and U.S. cultures. Ferguson is like most skilled and gifted writers in that he recognizes relationships among people and the small points that can drive those relations. Anger, jealousy, love, etc. play a part among those interactions and I think Ferguson strikes a nice balance between show and tell.
Anyhoo. Cinq-Mars gets involved in the murder investigation after the local Police Chief gets pushed out of the case by the State Police. Police Chief figures he can use Cinq-Mars as a surrogate and keep his hand in things. State Police Guy is not happy about this. Another murder across the river in New Hampshire (Vermont?) widens and [word I cannot think of] the investigation.
Along the way Cinq-Mars involves his niece and her friends who were close with the murder victim. Cinq-Mars detangles professional and personal relations, faces danger, suspects real-to-life spies, discovers a possible murder-for-fun ring, considers moving to bucolic Vermont (New Hampshire?)
A very good story. Worth your time.
1. I don't think the last novel of Ferguson's City of Ice trilogy was published in the U.S. I have been periodically checking for River City for years and have never seen a U.S. edition. I've only briefly looked into getting a Canadian edition. When I first checked some people were trying to sell copies for $50+.
2. One observation about CA v. US is how Americans ask what other people do for a living when first meeting. Emile does not like that. Neither do I. I rarely ask anyone that question because I know it will color my perception of them. Most people are so much more than their work.
3. Emile is observant. He reads people well and is an expert in strategizing how to manipulate them or encourage them.
4. When searching for John Farrow-Trevor Ferguson my library video from 2011 still pops up. I stopped making those because they never had enough views to warrant continuation.