The occupant of the final ensemble, the only one of the three sitting, combined wrinkles with lack of hair like a pug slightly ironed.
Years back, I read a mystery called By Frequent Anguish, by S.F.X. Dean. It was the story of an academic whose girlfriend is murdered. It moved me deeply, for personal reasons. The sequel, however, left me cold, and I didn’t read any more in the series.
Blonde, by Stan Jackson, had much the same effect on me, and shares a similar premise. Perry “Ste” Webster, who teaches philosophy at a fictional campus of the University of York in England, was in love with Anna, a local barmaid. Though her social status displeased Ste’s upper-class parents, she was beautiful and smart and full of life – until Ste found her stabbed to death in her apartment one night. The police, of course, fixed on him as their primary suspect, but he has an alibi and powerful friends.
Soon he discovers an important clue – Anna’s diary. But reading it, he finds that she wrote in it about a personal secret he confided to her. He doesn’t want the police to see that secret. So, in spite of his grief, he takes it upon himself to investigate Anna’s personal connections. Some of the people she worked with were involved in a disastrous investment scheme, and owed a lot of money. Ste uncovers some dark secrets and angers some dangerous people, but the final solution to the mystery will be a complete shock.
I enjoyed Blonde very much. Not only was the mystery fascinating and the characters appealing, but the writing sometimes rose to a very high level (though the author has a lamentable tendency to overuse exclamations marks). And though no particular deference is paid to Christianity, Ste Webster as a philosopher and reader seems to me to be mostly on the right lines.
On the other hand, Ste can be an annoying detective. His approach to dangerous situations is generally to just walk in and trust that some deus ex machina will save his bacon. That weak plot device was used a little too much in this book, imho.
However, I have proceeded to the next book in the series. Recommended.