Saturday, November 26, 2011

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead

Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead
by Sara Gran
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. 273 pgs. Mystery

A disciple of the French detective Jacques Silette, and a student of his student, Constance Darling, Claire DeWitt is the self-styled best detective in the world. And she needs to be when she takes on the case of Vic Willing, a district attorney who went missing during Hurricane Katrina, though his house wasn't in a flood zone. DeWitt has unorthodox ways of detecting--many gleaned from Silette's Detection. She drinks, does drugs, dreams dreams, and rings changes on the I Ching. She believes that the only true detectives don't choose their lives, but are chosen to detect. Along with all this truly entertaining mysticism, Sara Gran has her detective always moving through a surely true-to-life post-Katrina New Orleans where most everyone, especially the young people, are resilient, intelligent, and doomed. Neither Claire DeWitt nor this book about her exploits will slot easily into any place one might normally file detective fiction, but it is compelling reading in the best sense of the word.


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