Author: Nevada Barr
Genre: Short story, humorous mystery
Source: Purchased at Barnes and Noble
First Line: I know he did it.
Somehow it's rather appropriate that the first thing I read on my new Nook was a short story by Nevada Barr-- and if my reading experience is any indication, I have a lot of pleasure ahead of me with my new gizmo.
In this short story, a woman living in New Orleans sees a serial killer claim another victim. Making the decision that the tainted and bumbling police force will be of no use, she plans to use the city's high crime rate as a resource to bring the killer to justice.
Sounds high octane good, doesn't it? You don't know the half of it. The title of the story itself evokes memories of Tennessee Williams' play Summer and Smoke as well as a line of the poem "Emblems of Conduct" by Hart Crane. Don't let the smoke of the title get in your eyes. Things aren't exactly as they appear to be in my little synopsis. I think Barr was channeling some grief and anger in this story-- one of the many benefits of the writing process. That, in the end, she could have so much fun doing it and make me laugh so much is another of the many benefits of writing and of reading. If you get a chance to read this gem of a short story, don't pass it by... especially if you're a pet lover!