Friday, February 3, 2023

"Before I Sleep"

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of the hugely popular Morland Dynasty novels, which have captivated and enthralled readers for decades. She is also the author of the contemporary Bill Slider mystery series, as well as her recent series, War at Home, which is an epic family drama set against the backdrop of World War I.

Harrod-Eagles applied the Page 69 Test to the new Bill Slider mystery, Before I Sleep, and reported the following:
Page 69 contains the end of a conversation betwen DCI Bill Slider and his immediate boss, the language-mangling Det Sup Porson. In a new scene, Slider and his sidekick Atherton head for Burnham Beeches, a large woodland area near London to which circumstance has directed them to look for a missing woman. They have to go via the local police station and its gatekeeper, Slider's opposite number there, DCI Dalton.

Page 69 contains a good flavour of the book, starting with just a hint of good old Porson who, despite saying things like 'It's not rocket surgery', is really pretty smart and is always supportive of his people. He sees his role as standing between the working cops at the coal face and the constant shower of brown stuff from the highly-paid desk warriors above. Then there's the easy cameraderie between Slider and Atherton, who have worked together so long they can finish each other's sentences. On another page Slider worries about this and says, 'We have got to see other people'. And it suggests one of the frustrations of policing when a case crosses into another jurisdiction: having to follow protocol, avoid treading on toes, and curtsey to the local police gods. There always seems to be at least one rigid, rule-following pillock like Dalton to get in the way, slow you down, and, if possible, make you feel small. Slider, though, can never give up once he’s invested in a case. With the help of his heterogenous team and the witty, irreverent Atherton, he follows the faint trail left by the missing woman, Felicity Holland, to the bitter end.
Visit Cynthia Harrod-Eagles's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Secrets of Ashmore Castle.

--Marshal Zeringue