Yesterday at 4 AM

and I’m on my way to Long’s to buy some menstrual meds for my wife. I wonder how many other of the two or three vehicles I see on the road contain men on the same kind of mission? It has always been a source of amazement to me that women as a rule are quite often unprepared for this monthly event. Well, at least the women I’ve known. My wife, for example, tells me, she’s 44, that she doesn’t know exactly what her body is telling her just before her period starts. But I can tell when it is starting every time just from being together the past 14 years. So what’s up with that?

Anyway, I bring this up in preface to writing about the most recent book I’ve read, Resolution, a mystery novel by Scottish writer, Denise Mina.  The book jacket contained recommendations by two other Scottish writers, Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, I had read so I didn’t hesitate to start reading when pulled it off the shelf.

But right away I was puzzled by the introduction of several characters that it seemed like from the book I was already supposed to know, one in a mental ward and another who it later turns out is the main character of the story.  It is as though I have been dropped into the middle of something.  This gives me a feeling of incoherence that makes me set the book aside for awhile.

This is a trick that sometimes works with reading.  I discover that after taking a break from something that is confusing me that I have  settled my mind since it was I that was in a confused state not the book.  Anyway, when I go back to reading I discover a story about a woman who has been attacked and her lover murdered.  The man in the psyche ward, Angus Farrell, is the murderer and he has plans.  By taking advantage of events that occurred after the murders, there were two, he thinks he can win his trial and then get his revenge on the woman, Maureen O’Donnell, that he holds responsible for putting him where he is.

Maureen and her friend, Leslie, work selling pre-tax cigs at their stand in a street bazaar. Maureen, it turns out, comes from parents who are alcoholics and she has developed into one herself.  Her struggles with this and with the fact that her father molested her as a child form the back story which gradually, as the tale unfolds, intensifies into a very satisfying conclusion.  Resolution, I should say because as I am reaching the novel’s conclusion it suddenly dawns on me what the whole beginning was about.  This is a part of the story which must have begun in her first novel, Garnethill and continued with her second, Exile, and now my scrambled brain finally tells me, is resolved in this third.

I don’t like spoilers.  Hate to read a movie review before I see the film for myself.  And I really, really dislike the current trend in TV previews that provides a capsule view of what the show you are about to see is about.  I read to be surprised.  This story of Maureen and her friends, Leslie and Kiltie,  did just that.  There is a wonderful sense of humor that sometimes is  dour but really is just based in an acceptance of the conditions in which they must live that really makes her tough character stand out.

Now to head to the lib tomorrow and get started on the other two pieces of the trilogy.  And if you want a good read, I suggest you might start there too.

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