Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"What the Fly Saw"

Frankie Y. Bailey, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY), is the author of mysteries as well as non-fiction titles that explore the intersections of crime, history, and popular culture. She is a Macavity Award-winner and has been nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards.

She applied the Page 69 Test to What the Fly Saw, the second Detective Hannah McCabe mystery, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Baxter waved his hand and the jazz musicians swung into action with “When the Saints Come Marching In”.

“Guy had a sense of humor,” Baxter said, waving his hand again to close the hologram.

“Yes, he did.” Wyatt said. “Shall we sit down?”

They took seats around the small table in the corner. As his secretary had said, Kevin Novak was tidy. Nothing on the table.

“Reverend Wyatt,” McCabe said. “Dr. Burdett was able to give us some sense of what had been troubling Mr. Novak without violating the obligation he felt to preserve doctor-patient confidentiality. We know Mr. Novak felt some guilt about his friend’s death and was depressed. We know you referred Mr. Novak to Dr. Burdett.”

“Yes, I thought Jonathan was better equipped than I was to offer the counseling I sensed Kevin needed.”

“But apparently -- from what his wife said -- he was still troubled. So troubled she was concerned about him.”

“I think Sarah’s perception is probably more accurate than mine, or even Jonathan’s. I’m practically a newlywed compared to her and Kevin, but I have learned it’s much easier to present a brave face to the world than to your spouse.”

“Of course, it seems other people were also concerned about Mr. Novak,” McCabe said, taking the opportunity to go in another direction. “Dr. Burdett showed us a tag Mr. Novak had sent him on Saturday. Apparently, when he was at the celebration for Olive Cooper, she was concerned enough to suggest Mr. Novak attend a séance with a medium.”

Wyatt grimaced. “If she meant that Woodward woman, I hope she was joking.”
Page 69 is representative of the rest of the book in that we see police detectives Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, going about their investigation. The tone here is somber because they are in the home of the victim, funeral director, Kevin Novak. Kevin’s wife, Sarah, has gone upstairs to be alone for a few minutes and think about how she is going to break the news to their daughter, Megan. Megan is on her way home. Her brother has gone to pick her up from a sleepover at a friend’s house.

McCabe and Baxter are using Kevin’s study to interview Reverend Wyatt, the minister of the megachurch to which Kevin belonged. The minister and Dr. Burdett, a psychiatrist and family counselor, were there when the detectives arrived. They questioned Burdett first. Now it is Wyatt’s turn. They are trying to get some sense of who might have wanted Kevin dead. They also want to know more about the minister.

As this scene hints, the styles of the two detectives are different. Baxter, the rookie (who spent some time working Vice) tends to be irreverent. McCabe is more serious. Their different styles actually mesh well together. In this second book in the series, they have been partners for about four months. But there is a thread of tension in their relationship that McCabe becomes aware of again later in the book.

Keep in mind that the year is 2020, the near future, and this Albany, New York exist in an alternative version of our world. But the book itself is a police procedural not science fiction.
Visit Frankie Y. Bailey's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue