The Taken by Inger Ash Wolf, read by Bernadette Dunne

We find the troublesome, 62 year old Detective Inspector in bed after a back operation, popping Percocets and abusing the hospitality of her ex-husband’s new wife. Within a week she is thigh deep in a case of abduction, with a scene of crime and a bloody victim being broadcast live on line to her desktop. Within 2 weeks her wry, dry, black personality has generated several joyless encounters.

Consider Officer Childress from Toronto:

“Are you crazy!!? You don’t send the chief of the biggest division in Toronto a human hand to his desk!” (Hazel: “Where does he like to take delivery of such things??”)

Or Supervisor Ilunga: “Now he was looking at her as if trying to decide what part of her to rip off first.”

I told you to go home… …We investigated this death. You arrived here with a foregone conclusion. What I’m doing is standing my ground against the devil, who appears before us in the form of an intuition. Every time someone walks in here with a feeling i want to reach for my gun. You know how much a hunch costs? A SOCO team with a vehicle big enough to get that boat and its oars back to a clean room, the hours to rephotograph the goddamn thing, the spectroscope, the refingerprinting of latents now 3 years old, I’ll start at $30,000 but I’m being optimistic. “(Hazel: “So its the cost that bothers you, or the revelation that you accepted a suicide wrap because its good for business?…”)

Or Sunderland, the editor of the Westmuir Record, hair plastered flat on his forehead by weather and stress:

Ah! Here she is: Shiva the Destroyer. And look! Here is her handiwork! …You are feckless, power-hungry, thoughtless, arrogant and foolish… You think strong arming anyone you care to into doing your will is the way to run the Port Dundass PD…!? ” (Hazel: How was Atlanta? …If you’re thinking of ruining me you better get in line; you have competitors.”)

By the end the whole affair has cost 30 grand plus one helicopter, but life in the Canadian provinces is back to normal, the “weekly B & E, the biweekly domestic, the monthly car theft.” (“It was so regular that the older cops joked they should have sign up sheets for perps to fill in before they committed the  quota of small time offences” they were delegated in the county.)

John Lee reads Ruth Rendell:End in Tears.

There are inside words and outside words. Sometimes outside words – like Inspector Wexford’s “They don’t have handbags anymore,” – sound like inside words because they form a running commentary on something like the world. Sometimes, like Hannah Goldsmith’s, they escape, aciduously, censoriously.

Throughout the course of this investigation into the death of an unlovely and overloved teenage girl, there is an exchange of words, between and across sides. Consider Mike and Wexford:

They got on, Wexford and Mike. “If they couldn’t quite say everything that came into their heads to each other… they got as near to doing this as two people ever can.”

Turn internal words into external words, that is.

For example, one of the things that came into the Detective Inspector’s head which he couldn’t say aloud was that his friend was just a fraction too old for Jeans.

And so a thousand inside words run across the bottom of the scene like a ticker tape across the real.

The real — well, let’s not exaggerate. Mike Burden is convinced that the girl was moving drugs. Selling drugs. Buying drugs.

“You remind me of that guy at the Roman senate who used to rise to his feet every day and say : ‘Carthage must be destroyed.’ Delende est Cartago. Well, it was destroyed. Finally.”

“There you are then. It proves my point. It’s drugs.”