Arkady, the permanently grim, dejected, despondent Moscow cop wants another autopsy done on the body of a prostitute and finds his old friend Willie at the morgue, having moved in.
Immense and unshaven, Willie Pezenko shuffled around the morgue like a wooly mammoth in an operating gown. A cigarette hung from his lips, a glass of antiseptic alcohol from his hand. At school he had been called Belmondo after the French actor for his style with a cigarette. Arkady had been his classmate but now Willie looked 20 years older…. “I can’t do it. I’m not up to it. Doctor’s orders.”
“You could do it with your eyes closed, ” Arkady said.
Willie waved a glass at the cadavers…”Don’t you think I would like to dive in? Some of the work that comes out of this place you wouldn’t believe. Butcher’s work at a butcher’s pace. A real abattoir. They dig out the heart and lungs, slit the throat, pull out the esophagus. No finesse, no analysis. Run a saw around the skull, pop the brains, dig out the organs, bag them, weigh them, dump them, tween the knees, and finish in less time than it takes to dress a rabbit….”
“I’m retired. On the sidelines. … Friends come by. Some of them alive, some of them dead. And when I drop there’ll be no need for an ambulance. Cause I’m here…”
Millie is a happy widow who is a member of the Red Hat Club. She has just dyed her hair cinnamon. She wants to travel and step down from her job as ‘domestic goddess’, but she has two sons who are slobs. One has moved into her basement apartment after being kicked out by his wife, and one expects her to clean his apartment and do his laundry until he gets married. This is the story about how Millie organizes a home economics course to teach her two sons how to boil an egg. Sweet, warm cozy book read by the sweet warm cozy voice of Cynthia Darlow.
Dick Francis died in his home on the Cayman Islands. He was 89.
A successful steeplechase jockey, Francis turned to writing after he retired from racing in 1957. He penned 42 novels, many of which featured racing as a theme. His books were translated into more than 20 languages, and in 2000 the Queen – whose mother was among his many readers – honoured Francis by making him a Commander of the British Empire.
For more info: The Globe and Mail
This was supposed to be about four retired couples, cops and wives, living in Florida and solving crimes (not cases). But Spillane turned it into a study of memory. Imagine a blinded amnesiacal lover secreted away inside a community of retired cops in New Jersey, and rediscovered by her old boyfriend after 25 years? What remains when memory disappears?
How does one lover make himself remembered to another?
If the boyfriend has the grainy voice of Richard Ferrone, and the nouns of a Mickey Spillane novel: doll, honey, kitten, what remains is instinct. And the girlfriend responds to being called a specific name by a specific voice. Hey, doll. All right, kitten.