The Suspect

thesuspectEdgar Award, Mystery Writers of America:  Best Novel

“Every bit as good as the novels of Ruth Rendell and P.D. James.” – People

“[A] tight, beautifully written account.” – Publishers Weekly

“A writer of exceptional talent… her novels are a joy” – Toronto Globe & Mail

“One of the best books I have read this year.” – The Boston Globe

“Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this one.” – San Diego Union[/pullquote]

With The Suspect, her first mystery novel, L.R. Wright became the first Canadian to win the high-profile Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America, for Best Novel of 1985.

When there is a murder in a town like Sechelt ­ a sleepy community on Canada’s aptly named Sunshine Coast ­ it is necessarily unusual. And in this case no one finds it more so than the eighty-year-old culprit himself, who, upon brutally striking an eighty-five-year-old crony on the head, realizes, to his great surprise, that “he is going to survive this astonishing thing.”

But murder is a word far larger than much of George Wilcox’s life, and suddenly he is concerned less with his volunteer work at the local hospital, or with his prolific garden, or with his out-of-touch daughter, than with guilt and honour and with secrets of the past. His crime ­- unlikely and unpremeditated, though not, as we will learn, unprovoked -­ binds him tightly to two crucial people: to warm-hearted Cassandra, the town librarian, and to Alberg, her new romantic interest, who also happens to be the humane but zealous cop investigating Wilcox’s case. Theirs is an almost magical triangle, welded together by a quiet affection, structured on a firm discretion.

L.R. Wright has once again written a novel glowing with,­ as Anne Tyler has described it,­ “a special kind of integrity.” The Suspect builds with such natural grace and compassion that it transcends the logic of justice. Wilcox, Alberg, and Cassandra will all come to make startling decisions, but Wright’s sympathetic affection for these characters infuses their story with reason. So skilled a writer as to make Wilcox’s crime seem wholly unremarkable, L.R. Wright transforms the daily course of life into something quite extraordinary.