Jacob Rigolet - a soon-to-be former assistant to a wealthy art collector - looks up from his seat at an auction to see his mother, the former head librarian at the Halifax Free Library, walking almost casually up the aisle. Before a stunned audience, she flings an open jar of black ink at master photographer Robert Capa's Death on a Leipzig Balcony. What's more, Jacob's police detective fiancée, Martha Crauchet, is assigned to the ensuing interrogation.
In My Darling Detective, Howard Norman delivers a fond nod to classic noir, as Jacob's understanding of the man he has always assumed to be his father unravels against the darker truth of Robert Emil, a Halifax police officer suspected but never convicted of murdering two Jewish residents during the shocking upswing of anti-Semitism in 1945. The denouement, involving a dire shootout and an emergency delivery - the second Rigolet to be born in the Halifax Free Library - is Norman at his provocative, uncannily moving best.
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- Jim McBride