Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Sock It to Me!

It wasn’t anything I had planned, but for some reason I seem to have been reading a number of crime novels lately with stories taking place during the 1960s or early ’70s. Particularly interesting among those is Sweet Sunday, by British author John Lawton. Set in 1969, but with multiple flashbacks to prior events (including the early ’60s protests of segregated busing in the American South and the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago), Sweet Sunday rolls out the compicated story of Turner Raines, a Texas-born New York City private investigator who sets out to solve the ice-pick murder of his best friend, Village Voice reporter Mel Kissing.

As I remark in my Kirkus Reviews column posted today,
Yes, Sweet Sunday is a crime novel, a detective novel, even a whodunit. If you chart its structure, it follows the familiar pattern: misdeed committed, clues sought, culprit eventually revealed. However, within that formula author Lawton does a great deal more than solve a slaying; he also strives to get a handle on the hopes, fears, antagonisms, and disappointments of 1960s America, when opinions on the war in Southeast Asia divided families, and generations split over societal ideals.
You can read all of my new piece here.

Also check out Nancie Clare’s recent audio interview with author Lawton on the subject of Sweet Sunday. It can be found in the Speaking of Mysteries blog.

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