I admit a slight temptation to roll my eyes at this, a temptation, that disappeared, however, soon after I started reading Cantrell's novel A Trace of Smoke. Cantrell sets the book in the least relaxing of cities — Berlin — in the least relaxing of times — 1931. The Nazi party is on the rise, and people disappear daily, their photos to turn up in the city's Hall of the Unnamed Dead.
Hannah Vogel finds a photo of her brother there and, for a reason particular to the time, must conceal this fact as she searches for information about him. And then 5-year-old Anton turns up, claiming Hannah is his mother. Thus a second mystery for Hannah: Who are the child's real parents?
More later, but for now:
What other crime stories feature mothers, would-be mothers or motherless children? And, in a genre where victims disappear permanently by being killed, is it a surprise that more authors don't write about children and others the victims leave behind them?
(Read a short excerpt from A Trace of Smoke here.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2010