My Bouchercon panels: Paul Charles, youse two perverts, and a question for readers
The book is The Lonesome Heart is Angry, and the opening chapters suggest that Charles loves his setting and knows how to create a convincing picture of village life.
Two brothers, farmers and twins, have reached their late twenties and have decided the time has come to marry. Times being hard, however, they can afford just one wife between them. Here's part of the ensuing dialogue with the village matchmaker, explaining gently while that sort of thing is just not done:
"‘Maybe you’ll be introduced, find an excuse to say something, just make that vital connection. So next time you see her, no matter where it might be, you’ll have the confidence to talk to her a bit more. ... You might ask one of those hypothetical questions, you know, “Em, you know, so and so, well, em, I was thinking: do you know what would happen if I … There’s this friend of mine and he really likes her and he was thinking, and I said I would check for him, so do you think if he asked her out, you know, would she go, you know, out with him?” And the friend will probably answer, “Oh yes – where were you thinking of taking her to?”
"‘Then you ask her out. You go for a walk, you talk a lot ... and maybe, just maybe, after a couple of years you will discuss marriage. ... But it’s important, vitally important, that the early stages are as natural as humanly possible. Do youse understand that?’
"The twins nodded.
"‘So at what point in this procedure were youse two perverts going to tell the sorry lass that she’d be sleeping with both of you?’"That reminds me a bit of Pierre Magnan's crime novels of rural France for its amusing sexual slant, but especially for the delicious, slow pace with which the scene builds up to its punch line (I omitted parts of the exchange for reasons of length.) I look forward to more.
What are your favorite recent crime stories with rural or village settings? And why? Does country life get a fair shake in crime fiction? Comments are especially welcome from readers familiar with village life.
© Peter Rozovsky 2014