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Darkness and light / John Harvey

By: Harvey, John.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: Harvey, John, Frank Elder mystery: 3.; Frank Elder: Publisher: London : William Heinemann, 2006Description: 357 pages ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780434014477.Subject(s): Elder, Frank (Fictitious character) -- Fiction | Cold cases (Criminal investigation) -- Fiction | Murder -- Investigation -- Fiction | Police -- England -- Fiction | Ex-police officers -- Fiction | Police -- Fiction | Serial murder investigation -- FictionGenre/Form: Detective and mystery fiction.DDC classification: Rental Fiction Subject: She wore a gold dress, short-sleeved, its skirt full-length and slightly flared. She looked peaceful, lying there on the bed, her arms resting easily together, the left hand on the right, a slender silver cross and chain encircling her neck, and not a wrinkle, not a fold of her dress out of place. And, perhaps, she truly was at peace. For she was dead. This was the sight that greeted Detective Inspector Frank Elder on his first case with the Serious Crimes Unit. His first case and never solved; no one was ever charged; the murderer never found. Eight years later, Elder's estranged wife contacts him in his Cornish hideaway. Her friend's sister Claire - a quiet and withdrawn widow in her fifties - has mysteriously disappeared. Elder, reluctantly, agrees to dig around and see what he can find. Then Claire is found, dead, arranged with meticulous detail on her bed, and it doesn't take long for Elder to make the connection. It's obviously the work of the same unbalanced individual and, to find the killer, Elder must shine a light into the darkest recesses of human behaviour, the dark and twisted recesses of a disturbed human mind
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

She wore a gold dress, short-sleeved, its skirt full-length and slightly flared. He could see the faint indentation on her left hand, a pale circle of skin giving away the fact that, until recently, a wedding ring had been there. She looked peaceful, lying there on the bed, her arms resting easily together, the left hand on the right, a slender silver cross and chain encircling her neck, and not a wrinkle, not a fold of her dress out of place. And, perhaps, she truly was at peace. For she was dead.This was the sight that greeted Detective Inspector Frank Elder on his first case with the Serious Crimes Unit. His first case and never solved; no one was ever charged; the murderer never found. At liberty to walk the streets, and to kill again.Eight years later, Elder's estranged wife contacts him in his Cornish hideaway. Her friend's sister Claire - a quiet and withdrawn widow in her fifties - has mysteriously disappeared. Elder, reluctantly, agrees to dig around and see what he can find. Then Claire is found, dead, arranged with meticulous detail on her bed, and it doesn't take long for Elder to make the connection. It's obviously the work of the same unbalanced individual and, to find the killer, Elder must shine a light into the darkest recesses of human behaviour, the dark and twisted recesses of a disturbed human mind...

She wore a gold dress, short-sleeved, its skirt full-length and slightly flared. She looked peaceful, lying there on the bed, her arms resting easily together, the left hand on the right, a slender silver cross and chain encircling her neck, and not a wrinkle, not a fold of her dress out of place. And, perhaps, she truly was at peace. For she was dead. This was the sight that greeted Detective Inspector Frank Elder on his first case with the Serious Crimes Unit. His first case and never solved; no one was ever charged; the murderer never found. Eight years later, Elder's estranged wife contacts him in his Cornish hideaway. Her friend's sister Claire - a quiet and withdrawn widow in her fifties - has mysteriously disappeared. Elder, reluctantly, agrees to dig around and see what he can find. Then Claire is found, dead, arranged with meticulous detail on her bed, and it doesn't take long for Elder to make the connection. It's obviously the work of the same unbalanced individual and, to find the killer, Elder must shine a light into the darkest recesses of human behaviour, the dark and twisted recesses of a disturbed human mind

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Chapter 1 1965 BEHIND HIS SPECTACLES, THE BOY'S EYES WERE LIKE bevelled glass.   Alice Silverman turned in her chair and adjusted the window blind so that the late summer light fell muted into the room. All the surfaces-- the pale wood table, the backs and arms of both chairs, the long low cabinet of shallow drawers-- hummed with a shimmer of honeyed dust. Each drawer in the cabinet was marked clearly with the name of the child to whom it belonged; some, those of the youngest, had an animal brightly painted beside the handle, a dolphin, a diplodocus, a brown bear with outsize feet and a big red bow at its neck. Close to Alice's slim wrist rested the unlined pad on which, occasionally, she noted down words or phrases in a neat hand, or otherwise doodled, crosshatching dark corners that might be clouds or trees. Between herself and the boy there were sheets of unmarked paper, some coloured, some plain, and near them a wooden box filled with pencils, chalks, and crayons. "There's plenty of paper here," Alice said. "You could draw something. Make me a picture."    Barely a flicker of response in those eyes. "It's difficult, isn't it?" Alice said. "Part of you wants to, but part of you doesn't." Still nothing. She had asked him before, not asked him, chivvied him, told him. Needing a response. Something she could push against. Not wanting him to be too comfortable. None of those namby-pamby social-worker questions-- What had he done in the holidays? What was his favourite group, the Beatles or the Stones? Alice looked at him and the boy shuffled awkwardly on his chair until he was sitting almost sideways, head down, face angled away. The Stones, she thought, it had to be. For her, at least. The words to "Mother's Little Helper" running through her head. The thrust of Jagger's skinny hips, the cruel lewdness of his lips. A shiver ran through her and she sensed the boy stiffen as if somehow he had noticed.   THE REFERRAL HAD COME FROM THE BOY'S TEACHER INItially, not based on any one particular thing, more an accumulation of incidents that had alerted her to some underlying malaise that went beyond the norm. Sudden mood swings, outbursts of temper, tears; several occasions on which he'd soiled himself in the playground, or once, in class, an incident, quite possibly misinterpreted, between himself and the school secretary when they had been alone in her office, something vaguely sexual. Alice had read the reports, hummed and hawed, finally found a place in her schedule. Almost five years now since she had finished her training, three since taking up her post with this authority. The younger children, seven, eight, nine, she felt less anxious with, more in control. Boys like this, though, edging eleven, slightly built but with something threatening about them nevertheless, something confrontational beating just beneath the skin . . . Sensing the allotted time drawing to a close, Alice allowed herself to glance down at her watch; capped and uncapped her pen, then told herself not to fidget. A cup of tea and a biscuit: two more sessions and then she was through. Another day. Tonight there was a Buñuel at the Film Society. Viridiana. Maybe she'd go along, take her mind off work, relax. "All right then," Alice said, as brightly as she could. "I'll see you again next week."   Copyright (c) John Harvey 2006   All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.   Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777. Excerpted from Darkness and Light: A Frank Elder Mystery by John Harvey All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Claire Meecham has been missing for a week when Frank Elder's ex-wife calls him for help in finding her. Frank, retired from the Nottingham police and now living in Cornwall, is reluctant to return, but he does in the hopes of seeing his estranged daughter. Claire is found strangled, and the case reminds Elder of a similar murder he investigated. To solve the crime, he is asked to work with his former sergeant, Maureen Prior. What had begun as a deceptively simple disappearance turns into a complex story of psychological motivation and hatred. Devotees of British police procedurals will demand this. Harvey, author of the much-acclaimed Charlie Resnick novels (Resnick makes a cameo appearance here) and two other Frank Elder books (Flesh & Blood), has won a number of awards, including the British Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger Award. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

In Harvey's engaging third British procedural to feature retired policeman Frank Elder (after 2005's Ash & Bone), Elder grudgingly agrees to try to find Claire Meecham, the older, widowed sister of a friend of his ex-wife's. While poking through the missing woman's Nottingham bungalow, Elder finds nothing untoward other than evidence that Claire was not quite so uninterested in sex, and possible new relationships, as her younger sister believed. Soon after, Elder is surprised when Claire turns up in her home dead, looking at peace, carefully dressed and laid out in the manner of a woman who met a similar fate years earlier-and whose killer was never caught. Elder's probe of this murder leads him down several blind alleys even as it forces him to re-examine uncomfortable aspects of his own past. Fans of PBS's Mystery will find Harvey's novel, with its scattering of contemporary English slang, a genial read. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

The third Frank Elder finds the retired Nottingham copper once again called back from his solitary life in remote Cornwall to help investigate a murder. This time it's his ex-wife doing the calling. Concerned about one of her friends, whose sister has gone missing, she wants Frank to look into the matter with more attention than the police are giving it. Reluctantly, Frank agrees and soon enough lands in the middle of a murder case, working with many of his old colleagues, including, tangentially, Charlie Resnick, hero of Harvey's award-winning previous series. The Resnick cameos give the Elder novels a nice jolt of frisson, but Harvey has successfully moved on to a new and quite different hero. Elder is a troubled man--still suffering from his divorce and struggling with guilt over his daughter's abduction and rape at the hands of a man he was tracking ( Flesh & Blood,0 2004)--but his determined attempts to retreat from life are consistently trumped by his need to get back to work and to connect with other human beings. Harvey writes superbly about the startings and stoppings that define human relationships, whether within the bounds of acceptable behavior or criminally outside them. He makes us feel the connections between people on both sides of the law--or both sides of sanity--in a way that is both profoundly moving and deeply unsettling. Harvey belongs on the short list of every reader interested in the demilitarized zone where crime fiction and literature meet. --Bill Ott Copyright 2006 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A favor for his ex takes retired cop Frank Elder from Cornwall to Nottingham. He could have refused her, but Frank Elder once more does what his ex-wife asks, this time helping out her friend Jennie, whose widowed sister Claire Meecham had gone missing. Middle-aged, conventional, still grieving for her husband after five years, Claire was not one to scamper away. Frank checks in with his old mates at the Major Crime Unit, now called the Force Crime Directorate, but they have nothing to add. Though he does find a few revelatory bits--a sexy photo and a sex toy hidden in Claire's bureau, log-ins to online dating services--Frank is stymied. Then Claire's body suddenly appears, strangled in her own bed. Viewing the corpse with DI Maureen Prior, Frank harks back to his very first case, the murder of Irene Fowler eight years ago, which went unsolved. The similarities, including the perversely respectful way the bodies were left, suggest a single killer. Prior's squad trawls through the old files for clues while Frank, an unpaid consultant, concentrates on interviewing the men Claire found online until he uncovers a fatal link between the victims. Yes, Charlie Resnick makes a cameo appearance, but Frank (Ash & Bone, 2005, etc.), with his guilt, his regrets, his worrisome relationships with his wife and daughter, is surely developing his own fan base and giving both Charlie and John Rebus a run for their money. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.