Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Murder Knocks Twice"

Susanna Calkins holds a PhD in history and currently works at Northwestern University.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Murder Knocks Twice, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Gina watched her father take his last bite of toast, chewing slowly and carefully. She knew he’d had a bad night the night before, the medicine working on the shakes only some of the time. But she could no longer put off the questions that had been raging inside her since she’d first heard them. “Papa?”


“Why were you called Frankie the Cat?”

He pushed the plate aside, a spasm crossing his face. “Where’d you hear that ? I haven’t been called that in years.”

“Mike Castallazo. He owns the Third Door.”

“Castallazzzo!” He spat out the name. “That double-dealer! Didn’t know Big Mike owned that joint. I’d never have let you work there.”

Though startled by his outburst, Gina pressed on. “His wife, the Signora—she’s the one who hired me. He hadn’t realized who I was until we met.” She paused. “He said you were friends. That you ran together in the old days.”

“Yeah. The old days, sure. We were pals. Back when he was still Little Mike.” He said the last with a snort. “Big Mike came later, after I was already out.”
This interaction on page 69 between Gina Ricci and her dad offers an important glimpse into Gina’s backstory. First, it reveals why Gina needed to work at the Third Door in the first place—her father was ailing and was having trouble holding a job of his own. Perhaps more importantly it also reveals some troubling questions. When she started working at the Third Door, she hadn’t known most of the people who worked there. And yet, they all seemed to know her. Moreover, they also appeared to have known her father as a young man too—back when he was known as “Frankie the Cat,” a nickname she’d never before heard. All of this makes her wonder more about Dorrie, the cigarette seller who had died under mysterious circumstances, and whose position she had since filled. There’s definitely something odd going on, and Gina doesn’t know who to trust, especially since her father is not being forthcoming about what he knows about her questionable new employers.
Learn more about the book and author at Susanna Calkins's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Murder at Rosamund's Gate.

The Page 69 Test: The Masque of a Murderer.

The Page 69 Test: A Death Along the River Fleet.

--Marshal Zeringue