Sunday, November 06, 2005

Keith Ablow; Elizabeth Foxwell

I long ago gave up trying to keep up with who's hot/who's not in mystery fiction. Way too many writers for that.

I mention this because though I've seen the name Keith Ablow around for several years, I never read anything by him. Till yesterday.

In Murder Suicide Ablow manages to do something only a handful of writers have ever done, at least that I know about. He gives us a genius and makes him beleivable. Science fiction, in particular, has long been presenting geniuses, few of them coming off realistically.

John Snow is our man and early on he's murdered. The thrust of the book is to find out who killed him. There is also the possibility that he committed suicide, though we know better than that because this is a mystery novel.

There is the wife, the troubled children, the cuckholded husband, the surgeon, the business partner--any one of them could have murdered the strange man Snow, whose life was complicated by epilepsy and the sort master mind that virtually makes him a species apart from the rest of us.

I enjoyed the book all the way through. Ablow writes well, occasionaly even remarkably, his characters are people I've never met before, and his background as a forensic psychiatrist gives the whole story a fresh keyhole through which to watch the characters who, are to a person, vivid and real.

Mr. Ablow has a growing following and it's easy to see why.


Clues, Fall 2005

Managing editor, the very talented and very nice Elizabeth Foxwell, turned over this issue to Mary P. Freier who devotes all six articles to the subject of Information Literacy which is, as she explains, "A term coined in the 1980s to refer to a person's ability to recognize an information need, know where to look for the information, evaluate what is found, recognize the economic value of information, and use that information ethically."

Most of those points apply to what police officers, private investigators and amateur sleuths do every day on their way to discovering Whodunit.

Each article is well worth reading but my favorite is Julie M. Chapman's look at Bernie Rhodenbarr as an information gatherer. Even in a somewhat academic setting, Bernie is fun to read about.

Elizabeth also edits a companion magazine called Storytelling, A Critical Journal for Popular Narrative. I'm not smart enough to understand all of it but most of the piece on Wm. Falkner's "A Rose for Emily" is very intriguing.


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