Friday, July 6, 2018

Some Things Never Change....

THE RIGHT JACK (Sigrid Harald # 4)
Margaret Maron
Oconee Spirit Press
May 1, 2013 (originally published 1987)

Lt. Sigrid Harald becomes involved in an investigation of a bombing at a cribbage tournament held in a posh NY boutique hotel. Her partner, Detective Tilden, "Tillie," was competing in the tournament and was severely injured. Further complicating matters, Sigrid was badly hurt the same evening taking down a serial rapist. She wants to handle the investigation herself, but since a US Naval Commander is also among the injured, the Navy sends in an assistant. Her look into the lives of the dead and living victims sends her way back to the days of the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weathermen, an era that I remember very well. 

All the elements that I have enjoyed in Margaret Maron's novels are on full display here; vivid characters, a sense of place and time, and a complicated heroine. It's clear Maron knows and loves NYC as she does her home state of North Carolina in the Deborah Knott series. The Sigrid Harald series was written back in the 80's and 90's and has not been updated. That means no DNA, nationwide databases, and communicating by landlines and payphones. Sigrid solves crime by pure digging and putting the pieces together. Somehow they remain timely, however. I was particularly struck by the following passage:

"When villages full of babies were carpet-bombed in Vietnam, where were the right-to-lifers? When babies starve all over Africa, when babies go hungry in our own rat-infested slums, where are all these so-called life-lovers? They care nothing about the quality of life once a baby's born, just that it gets born. They're so sure God's on their side!"

Some things never seem to change. But Sigrid herself is changing, building a support network and family of sorts, sometimes in spite of herself. I started reading the Sigrid Harald series quite a while back and somehow lost track of it but will be reading more. Especially since Maron has declared her most recent book, Take Out, also featuring Sigrid, to be her last.

RATING- 4.5 Stars

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