Just finished reading Gail M. Baugniet’s short story contribution to the anthology, “Controlling Destiny”. (Gail’s many other contributions such as coordinating the anthology, mentoring authors and editing, doing the design and layout, planning the marketing, etc, while simultaneously being Sisters In Crime chapter president AND managing her own career as author of the excellent Pepper Bibeau mystery series – are astounding!)
It’s possibly the best written of all the stories. Despite including much more than most of the stories, it’s very tightly done. Not a wasted word anywhere.
The narrator, a freelance journalist delightfully named Cacao (as a chocoholic, I heartily approve!), briefly meets a homeless woman (Remy) who is murdered a day later.
The mystery isn’t about the murder. Who did it and why is perfectly clear, with the perp in jail pending trial. The fact of pending trial makes Cacao’s investigation much tougher than the usual PI investigation because NOBODY will talk and risk tainting the trial.
The mystery is about how the homeless woman ended up on the streets. The answer isn’t any of the clichés or stereotypes about homeless people. Read this story and think about it before you go believing the crap Fox News and the malignancy known as the Republican Party spout about the homeless and the poor.
It’s set in a very realistic contemporary Honolulu, including how our local newspaper monopoly refuses to pay its reporters living wages. (Speaking of the poor.)
There’s a nice thematic connection between the end of Remy’s family, Cacao’s own extended family, and what might someday turn into a relationship/family of her own with a local police officer. Being set in Hawaii, where family and extended family is very important, added a cultural background that made this come through even more for me.
So go buy a copy of Dark Paradise: Mysteries in the Land of Aloha, and enjoy this story. And ping a thanks to Gail at her blog, Gail M. Baugniet – Author.