This month’s edition of Literary Ashland turned out different than intended. Our planned guest couldn’t make and so Ed and I ended up having a fun conversation about writing, linguistics, melodrama, clues and everything in between. So enjoy this unscheduled and unrehearsed show. As Ed pointed out, the show is a clear sign that both of us had experience walking into a classroom unprepared.
Private Investigator Edwina “Eddie Shoes” Schultz’s most recent job has her parked outside a seedy Bellingham hotel, photographing her quarry as he kisses his mistress goodbye. This is the last anyone will see of the woman. Her body is later found dumped in an abandoned building. Eddie’s client, Kendra Hallings, disappears soon after. Is Kendra in trouble too? Or is she the killer?
Eddie usually balks at cases requiring a gun, but she also hates to be stiffed for her fee. Before she knows it, she is knee-deep in dangerous company. It doesn’t help that her card-counting adrenaline-junkie of a mother has shown up on her doorstep fresh from being kicked out of Vegas. Chava is only sixteen years older than Eddie and sadly lacking in parenting skills. Her unique areas of expertise, however, prove to be helpful in ways Eddie can’t ignore. So Chava from tags along. Add the new homicide Detective Chance Parker, who happens to be Eddie’s ex, and Eddie’s got a case more frustrating and perilous with each tick of the clock.
Why do people read detective stories? Edmund Wilson posed this question in a 1944 New Yorker essay. He went on to say that since Sherlock Holmes there hadn’t really been anything worthwhile published in that genre. He had nothing nice to say about Agatha Christie and his comment on Dashiell Hammett was this: “‘The Maltese Falcon’ … seems not much above those newspaper picture strips in which you follow from day to day the ups and downs of a strong-jawed hero and a hardboiled but beautiful adventuress.”