The morals of Christopher Brookmyre’s story, plus a question for readers
More than Brookmyre’s biting humor, though, the fates of the characters point up what the author is up to. Everyone in this book is a scapegrace or worse, and everyone gets what he or she deserves.
Brookmyre’s outraged morality is finely calibrated: There are the purely evil characters, who have no qualms about what they do, and there are those burdened with the knowledge that they act wrongly. Within the latter group, those who obey their scruples and redeem themselves with a good deed are rewarded, and those who disregard their scruples suffer. This holds true for everyone from … well, no spoilers here, but read the book, then tote up the score yourself. Redemption (I choose this word carefully) depends not on what the characters think, no matter how sincerely they may think it, but on what they do.
I wrote earlier that Boiling a Frog broke rules with its lengthy expositions. Don’t ask me to provide examples, but those lengthy passages seemed almost a product of the nineteenth century, when the “show, don’t tell” rule was unheard of. The moral aspect is reminiscent of the eighteenth century. Though the contrast with the novel’s title might be jarring, this book could well bear the subtitle Virtue Rewarded.
And now the question for you, readers. It has been said that crime fiction’s appeal lies in its creation of a world in which wrongs are righted and order at least partly restored. Is this accurate?
From Boiling a Frog:
"You remember the Tories and `the economic miracle’ of the Eighties?”
“Do you remember an economic miracle taking place in the Eighties?”
“Eh. No, not really. Far from it, in fact.”
“Exactly. They got the phrase into the press and into the public mind. And, even smarter, they did it in the past tense … They referred so often to something as having happened that everyone began to believe it had. … Boom. Word association: Eighties, Thatcher, Economic Miracle. It replaced Eighties, Thatcher, Unemployment.”
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Scottish crime fiction
comic crime fiction