October 10, 2002

Sleep While I Sing, by L.R. Wright

I have read other mysteries by Wright and been impressed with her plot lines and general writing so when I found this one in the used bookstore I pulled it off the shelf right away. After I got home, I realized they charged me $6 for it because it's out of print but, hey, it's less than the price of a movie and it took me at least a couple hours to read it.

The story opens on a rainy night with the murder of the young woman by some shadowy man in a dark clearing in a woods outside of Sechelt, British Columbia. No names, no motives and no descriptions of the people involved. Fortunately, Sechelt is blessed to have Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg, of the CMP, to handle figuring out the who's and why's of it. Not that he fits the profile of a Mountie, mind you. He's slightly overweight, doesnÂ’t wear the red uniform, is middle-aged and drives a beat-up car rather than flinging himself on a horse. His subordinates aren't really movie Mountie material either. Plus Alberg has his eye on the local librarian who, unfortunately, is having an affair with a movie star taking a sabbatical from the pace of life in California. As the lone stranger in town, the movie star is the prime suspect.

The whole thing sounds pretty lame but it actually reads quite well. Summarize the plot to a Stephen King novel (who I think is a dynamite storyteller), and it sounds just as hokey. Wright uses the weather beautifully, particularly the rain, to add to the eerieness and suspense of having a murderer in the town. There's brush and brambles and dripping water and fog. She adds some local color characters that ring true and sets up some other possible victims that you just know are going to get it next. My only beef is that the ending moved a little too fast. She could have drawn it out a little more and gave the killer more lines but, all in all, I really like this book.

I wish I could find more of her books. Sadly, none of the chains carry her.

Posted by Deb English at October 10, 2002 06:00 PM