Friday, July 18, 2014

"A Possibility of Violence"

D. A. Mishani is a literary scholar specializing in the history of detective literature. His first novel, The Missing File, was the first book in his literary crime series introducing the police inspector Avraham Avraham.

Mishani applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel featuring the inspector, A Possibility of Violence, and reported the following:
Page 69 in A Possibility of Violence, the second installment in my detective series featuring police Inspector Avraham Avraham, finds my protagonist in his station in Holon, again, moments before another team meeting in which he would present the case he is working on now. This case opened with an explosive device placed near a daycare and gradually becomes even more violent and complicated.

I emphasize the again and the another because this page and this scene represents one of difficulties and one of the pleasures of writing, and reading, a detective series: repetition.

In the first novel in the series, The Missing File, Avraham already was in this same room and in similar team-meetings. And there he is again, and me too, writing a similar scene but with the distance of time, his time as police investigator, and my time as a writer.

The time that has passed from the previous case (and novel) is omnipresent in this scene, at least when I read it now: Avraham remembers the last time he was in that room, exactly as I remembered it while writing. And he wants this staff-meeting to be different, just as I wanted it to be a different scene. He wants it to be different because in the previous case he made some crucial mistakes and he's eager to prove (to himself and others) that he has learned his lesson; I wanted it to be different because a writer can't write the same scene twice. But on the other hand, doesn't the pleasure we have upon reading a detective series also lie in this repetitious return to the same characters, same locations, sometimes even same scenes?

I think that while reading my page 69 I discover a true protagonist of every detective series: the time that passes; the need to change with time - but also the desire to freeze it.

Avraham, I believe, passed the second investigation test – he knew how to change and so his second case ends quite differently than the first one. This time he leads the investigation to a successful resolution. But did I manage to pass the second-novel-in-the-series test? Did I write a new novel while not forgetting the (reader's and writer's) desire to return to the first? I'll let you decide.
Learn more about the book and author at D. A. Mishani's website and Facebook page.

My Book, The Movie: The Missing File.

The Page 69 Test: The Missing File.

Writers Read: D. A. Mishani.

--Marshal Zeringue