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Something Might Happen by Julie Myerson

Publisher: Little Brown & Company ISBN: 0316779849

Reviewed by Karen Treanor

This book, like many murder mysteries, begins with a murder.  It examines in detail the intimate horror of death, a death as unexpected as it is inexplicable. 

It undertakes an almost microscopic examination of the affect of the murder on those closest to the murdered woman: the widower, the children, the best friend and her family.  Around this little group the official investigation into the death can be heard going through its routine in the background, but it's very much secondary to the tight focus on the families.  

Leonora, Lennie to her friends, is found in a car park, half-naked, horribly injured, and dead. She was on her way home from a PTA meeting: such a banal occasion that one is shocked at the juxtaposition between the small doings of the association and the gruesome reality of the killing. 

Most of what follows is seen through the eyes of Tess, Lennie's best friend.   Her initial reaction to the murder is disbelief: it doesn't make sense to her that someone like Lennie would be murdered.  It seems to be a killing for no reason, which Tess finds hard to accept.  She looks for some explanation, some meaning, and her search brings her closer and closer to the police liaison officer who's been assigned to help the survivors.  His main job is to help Lennie's widower and children, but as the days pass, more and more often he's to be found with Tess.   

Things come to the inevitable conclusion one rainy night in Tess's beach house.  Far from making Tess feel better, the liaison with the liaison officer seems to make things worse, especially when it is discovered that Rosa, Tess's elder daughter, is missing.    Tess is horrified: she should have taken the girl's claim to have seen Lennie's ghost more seriously.  Now the child is missing, apparently trying to find Lennie's heart, which the murderer took away. 

The book is a compelling read, despite an eccentric style that eschews quotation marks in almost all of the direct speech, and despite being written in the present tense, which can be extremely confusing.  Keeping track of the flashbacks, and figuring out who is speaking, keeps readers on their toes.  This isn't an easy book, and it certainly isn't a happy one, but it's a brave attempt to look at murder from a very different angle.

 

Eye of the Abyss by Marshall Browne

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312311567

Reviewed by Donna Padilla

Staid Franz Schmidt is the chief auditor for a private bank in Germany.  When the Nazi party moves their funds to the bank, Franz is appointed as the overseer.  There is also a new employee, a mamber of the Nazi party, who is to be installed as a member of the bank board.

A bungled act of compassion makes the Gestapo suspicious of Franz. His wife and daughter leave him and things begin to spin out of control.  Dietrich, the new board member, tries to draw Franz into shady dealings with the party’s money. To save himself, he devises a deadly fraud against the Nazi party that is designed to bring Dietrick down.

This novel deals with the differences between the Nazi party and the people of Germany and their various ethnicities.  The reader is also given keen insight into the social levels and the variety of moral codes within an army or political organization.  An intelligent and worthwhile read, it's worth the time.