Death of the Black-haired Girl

Written by Robert Stone

Review written by Gwen Moffat

Gwen Moffat lives in Cumbria. Her novels are set in remote communities ranging from the Hebrides to the American West. The crimes fit their environment, swelling that dreadful record of sin in the smiling countryside cited by Sherlock Holmes. The style echoes this: rustic charm masking horror.

Death of the Black-haired Girl
Constable & Robinson Crime
RRP: £6.99
Released: July 3rd, 2014

Maud Stack’s death wish is increasingly obvious; alluring, academically brilliant, exhibitionist, she is madly in love and careless of who knows it in the New England college where she is in thrall to a married man. But Professor Brookman’s wife is coming home from a visit to her former Mennonite community and she, too, is a passionate woman but not careless. Brookman’s feet are cold.

There is a hackneyed air about this plot; for all its sophisticated style the theme is mundane. Husband has affair with younger woman and is desperate to end it. Girl objects. But the expected climax of wife-mistress confrontation is diverted by Maud’s action in another direction yet one that still leads to a disastrous climax.

If the basic theme was trite it is enriched by the intense emotional lives of the principals set against an exotic background which epitomises the American class system, supposedly dormant but up and running. Visible from the womens’ dorm on campus are lines of homeless men waiting for handouts, jostling and intimidating the students, lewdly critical. It is Maud who mingles with the underclass, friendly, sometimes patronising, reserving a withering contempt for members of a Right-to-Life campaign currently rampant. Her brilliance with words and composition, not to speak of wit, result in a vicious diatribe against the anti-abortionists who lack education and a sense of humour. Published in the college magazine the media love it. Maud has stuck her head above the parapet and she dies violently.

After her death interest lies in the reactions of the people who have been closest to her, reactions so ramified that even the detective investigating the case is hard put to discover a killer in the welter of guilt and motivation. Perhaps the most affected is Eddie, Maud’s widowed father: a former cop who responded to the horrors of 9/11, is now an alcoholic dying of emphysema and a rotting liver. The man he sees as an opponent is, of course, Professor Brookman, himself devastated in his own way. And then there is Ellie, his wife and former Mennonite who retains beliefs that smack as much of earth as heaven: Ellie who observes and listens and passes judgement.

Secondary but finely-drawn characters are a nun turned counsellor who is haunted by atrocities she witnessed in the third world, and Shelby, Maud’s roommate, a small-time actress who can mourn her friend and castigate the paparazzi in the same breath. Shelby is survival material.

An impassioned book, well-written and an object lesson for men who think it possible to love two women at the same time and no one pays a price. Having said that, one has a suspicion that Americans, although wearing their hearts on their sleeves, are made of sterner stuff than their transatlantic counterparts. The same theme, transferred to Oxbridge, would make a very different book.


where can i get the abortion pill online abortion pill buy abortion pills online
my girl friend cheated on me link online
cheat on husband online married men who cheat
buy viagra online canada how long does viagra last for viagra size
redirect husbands who cheat website
what makes a husband cheat why women cheat with married men what causes women to cheat
website having an abortion cost of abortion pills
spy on phones best spyware for android cell phones phone tracking app
android text monitoring app best free spy app spyware android phone
i told my husband i cheated go i want my husband to cheat
why do men have affairs affair dating sites cheaters
why do wife cheat all wives cheat
walgreens pharmacy coupons new prescription read coupon pharmacy
flagyl 400mg read keflex 750mg
forms of abortion coupons promo codes
coupons prescriptions prescription coupon card
free printable viagra coupons click free discount prescription card
cialis coupons printable read cialis coupons from manufacturer
information on abortion link abortion hotline
coupon for bystolic what is the generic for bystolic generic bystolic
cialis contre cialis contre cialis contre
cialis savings and coupons link free cialis coupon 2016 coupon free discount prescription card
voltaren dolo kenocs voltaren emulgél voltaren ára
claritine d site claritine d
allotment click allo allo
free prescription cards discount prescription coupon
ventolin prospecto open ventolini cali
abortion clinics pictures of abortions abortion pill procedure
motilium cena motilium cena motilium
prescription discount coupons printable cialis coupon prescriptions coupons
stemetil im stemetil side effects restlessness
abortion pill pros and cons abortion pill stories
getting an abortion pill information on abortion pill
cheap abortion pill how much is an abortion pill
abortion pill information cost for an abortion abortion pill is murder
acetazolamide acetazolamide blood brain barrier acetazolamide cerebral edema
lilly cialis coupons cialis coupon codes
cialis coupon 2015 cialis coupon card cialis online coupon
lilly cialis coupon printable cialis coupon cialis discount coupon
abortion clinics in houston tx costs of abortion pill abortion pill
prescriptions coupons coupon for free cialis 2015 cialis coupon
acetazolamide 250 mg tablets acetazolamide blood brain barrier
amoxicillin nedir amoxicillin nedir amoxicillin al 1000
naltrexone off label uses alcohol antagonist low dose naltrexone reviews
where can i buy low dose naltrexone read naltrexone uses

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor