A witty, engrossing homage to noir from National Book Award finalist Howard Norman
Jacob Rigolet, a soon-to-be former assistant to a wealthy art collector, looks up from his seat at an auction—his mother, former head librarian at the Halifax Free Library, is walking almost casually up the aisle. Before a stunned audience, she flings an open jar of black ink at master photographer Robert Capa’s “Death on a Leipzig Balcony.” Jacob’s police detective fiancée, Martha Crauchet, is assigned to the ensuing interrogation. In My Darling Detective, Howard Norman delivers adelivers a fond nod to classic noir, as Jacob’s understanding of the man he has always assumed to be his father unravels against the darker truth of Robert Emil, a Halifax police officer suspected but never convicted of murdering two Jewish residents during the shocking upswing of anti-Semitism in 1945. The denouement, involving a dire shootout and an emergency delivery—it’s the second Rigolet to be born in the Halifax Free Library in a span of three decades—is Howard Norman at his “provocative . . . haunting”* and uncannily moving best.
*Janet Maslin, New York Times
HOWARD NORMAN is a three-time winner of National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a winner of the Lannan Award for fiction. His novels The Northern Lights and The Bird Artist were both nominated for National Book Awards. He is also author of the novels The Museum Guard, The Haunting of L, What Is Left the Daughter,Next Life Might Be Kinder, and My Darling Detective. He divides his time between East Calais, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.
"[A] playful hand at work. Norman knows how to weave an enticing and satisfying mystery, one tantalizing thread at a time. And he left me wanting more of Jake and Martha." —The New York Times
"Intellectually restless and self-aware... investigat[es] and re-creat[es] the comfort, longing and nostalgia that detective fiction provides for its consumers. At its heart, this is a story about the way reading and writing can serve as a counter to destruction and loneliness....[and] gives us many reasons to be hopeful." —The Washington Post
"My Darling Detective
is an enjoyable story full of choice phrases, light sex, and a great deal of classic noir dialogue...there’s more than a hint of The Thin Man
and novels of that genre. [A]n enjoyable read, a mystery that is also a look at a young couple’s life in the ’70s, as well as a contrasting of the very opposite reaction two men have to the same war." —New York Journal of Books
“Norman is gifted at establishing atmosphere and character, and he pleasurably engages with old-fashioned crime-story patter … Norman pulls off what old-school noir pros like Chandler and Goodis did: mixes romance with blood in the gutter, makes sure the bad guys get theirs, and
ensures the good guys don't come out unscathed. An unconventional, lively literary mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Jacob and Martha are delightful characters, young lovers unraveling a complex and very personal mystery. This is a crowd-pleasing old school mystery novel."—Publishers Weekly