Good News on the Investigation of Life in The God’s Cycle. The latest: there’s loads of tension in Maine’s 1998 ice storm — enough almost to float a novel without a murder mystery. As anticipation concerning the ice storm builds, I may be able to give the murder a low-profile.
Here’s a list of factors contributing to ice storm suspense:
1. Threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. (12 such deaths reported in Maine’s storm.)
2. Trees breaking by the thousands, blocking highways and lanes, crashing on houses, and downing live power lines.
3. Absolute darkness. Slowly mitigated by primitive means. (In complete darkness, one man in Maine woke thinking he’d gone blind. R and I have experienced this darkness.)
4. Extreme difficulty walking on solid ice as thick as your forefinger is long — accompanying injuries. I had one of these and it turned out chronic to this day. (ouch)
5. Mysteriously, one store open in an isolation of light provided by the power company. My reading so far has not discovered the cause of this. The state’s central office of the power company itself lost power.
There’s much more. But all the above will suffice for minimum and slow advance on the murder, for both officials, reader, and writer.
I’ve been rereading Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers and finding it, this time around, a regular mishmash (if the paradoxical coupling with the adjective can be accepted, or even excepted). I recall being less than thrilled with my initial reading, without recalling why. Now I see. Sayers could have used an ice storm and cut the puzzle. Though some may enjoy the dance, for me it’s not engagingly presented. (I feel my eighth-grade teacher saying, pay attention!) With an ice storm her corpse could have gone under the sea, stayed out of sight awhile, bobbed to the surface, gone under, come up again, each time in a different part of the sea and (of course) the narrative. Oh yes! both reader and writer recall. –That murder again! (Or was a suicide?) But there it is again!!
yes, we have been waiting for snow, have hardly gone shoeing all winter. we’ve endured outages, but scarcely had snow. now we’ve got snow and no outages! it’s so nice to wash clothes and dishes using electricity. no need to use the dryer during outages–we just hang clothes around the house for the wood stove heat to dry. this adds welcome moisture to the cabin. thanks so to whomever is responsible for all this.
I’m not yet embroiled in the investigation, but must, like any detective, do the legwork, tedious inspection of clues no matter how trivial or overblown. Much is needed. Lots of background on the ‘ 98 ice storm and other winter storms germane to the thoughts and actions of characters. This kind of work is, well, work. Something much more interesting to me is building the mystery-story structure. Also, My imagination’s been marinating in enjoyable stories of detection by various authors in both print and unabridged audio versions. It’s said Sayers immersed in mysteries before writing them. I have how-to books but don’t plan to read them… unless I get stuck?
Had thought The God’s Cycle was dead and, investigating the matter,… turns out a detective fiction might help with that inquiry. Naturally, this being the Town of Gott’im, it would not be hard-boiled, would not be noir, or PD James. Not even Sayers. It won’t be Chandler, of course, but I do rely on his method to get me through this crucial investigation. Meaning I, the author, don’t know whodunit. I will let the story itself teach me that. In fact, I don’t even know who it was done to yet.
This embedded link entry’s title, “Jackman’s Dilemma” plays off the title Jackson’s Dilemma, a mid-1990s novel by Englishwoman Iris Murdoch.
The novel is set in both London and the rural estate surroundings of the Village of Lipcott. The nearby River Lip runs through these estates near the eponymous village. Lipcott is shown interested in family doings, much like any rural community — invested in the interest and entertainment of its attentive gossip and surmise. Much like the Upper Midwestern American town, Sinclair Lewis’s Gopher Prairie, and other rural communities like Jackman Maine, and my town-fiction, Gottheim.
Below is a letter to the editor in oblique reference to the angry callout of raised fees on power in the wake of severe outages this fall and winter. I don’t think the anger would be so expressed maybe 30 years ago. But, as ever, we are in transition as a society and some voices are more strident and maybe more used to the good life than in the past. Those coming here now are more well off, many possessed of the fine second home. The image below is not that referred to in the letter. Actually it is maybe twenty years old, from the aftermath of the great ice storm of 1998. It does not show state-of-the-art equipment used to move power lines around today.
See part one here: view from the edge of elfland
Are we there yet? I appear, at least, to be dragging my verbal and metaphoric feet in working up this response to David Russell Mosley’s On the Edges of Elfland. Remember, it was a promise to try for a response. These qualifiers made a good hedge for me to hide behind.
I liked Alfred’s character. His underlying uncertainty combines with pathos in a subtle but felt sympathy. I feel with and for him. It would take another reading for me to distinguish the many characters (types) as they begin multiplying: dwarves, gnomes, elves, goblins, fairies, at least two dragons both of which Alfred slew, and hobgoblins, giants; perhaps strangest of all—humans. Continue reading