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Death and the Language of Happiness Hardcover – March 31, 1997
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What makes this latest Alaskan mystery a must is--as always--the sheer beauty and energy of John Straley's writing. "His right hand engulfed mine in a leathery grip and I held onto it for longer than might have been called for," says detective Cecil Younger of a meeting with an ancient bearer of secrets about old and new murders. "It wasn't until after my grip tightened on his that I felt the quaver of his body his left hand betrayed. I saw in his blue eyes the distant haze of ice, the toehold of confusion and uncertainty. William Flynn was a very old man in a durable body. His soul was a weary traveler. Looking at him I began to feel uncomfortable, as if I were walking over a canyon on a narrow railroad bridge hearing a train whistle far down the line." Available in paperback are Straley's other wonderful books about Younger, The Curious Eat Themselves, The Music of What Happens, and The Woman Who Married a Bear.
From School Library Journal
YA. Cecil Younger, a private investigator, makes his fourth appearance in this mystery set in Alaska and Washington state. The latter was the site of a 1919 tragedy in which four American Legionnaires, marching in an Armistice Day Parade, were killed by Wobblies defending an IWW Hall. One Wobbly was lynched, several others were convicted of murder, and two were never found. Younger searches for links between that event and the modern-day murder of Angela Rameriez, a young woman who often visited 97-year-old William Flynn at a Sitka, AK, retirement home. The old man is quite confused about many things, but lucidly pleads his innocence even though the murder weapon was found in his room. He asks Younger to find and kill Simon Delaney, Angela's husband, whom Flynn believes is the murderer. Younger's therapist and Flynn's lawyer urge the investigator to find Delaney and thus the search is on, taking Younger to the Aleutian Islands and down to Washington, where he locates his man and solves both the murder and the missing pieces of the 1919 puzzle. Straley creates particularly vivid settings. This novel helps clarify the historical role of Wobblies in America by focusing on one event and creating a "what if" scenario. YAs wanting a short, fast-moving mystery will be satisfied by this tale by an award-winning author.?Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
infusion. When he receives a conference call from his attorney Dickie
Stein and his psychiatrist Dr. Trout informing him that another client
of theirs has offered a lot of money to kill someone, it is hard for
Cecil to say no. As difficult as it is to reject the offer, Cecil knows
that murder does not look good on the resume of a private investigator.
Still, curiosity drives him to meet the would be criminal, ninety-seven
year old William Flynn.
...... William is a bit disoriented on recent events, especially what has
occurred in the past eight days yet he remembers very little detail
about incidents that occurred eight decades ago. This much is known.
Angela Ramirez has been killed with the weapon found in Flynn's nursing
home room. William wants Cecil to kill the man he thinks is the
culprit. Dickie and Trout decide to hire Cecil to investigate the case
in an effort to prove their client is innocent. As Cecil tracks a
suspect, he finds more than he bargained for when he agreed to take on
....... John Straley is a superb storyteller who maximizes his Alaskan
setting and the colorful native characters that make up the state. The
step back in history to 1919 Alaska comes across with ease, dexterity,
and fits brilliantly into the overall story. Though the who-done-it
seems obvious, that knowledge seems to add to the tale. DEATH AND THE
LANGUAGE OF HAPPINESS is a fabulously shining Northern Light.
I've enjoyed the Cecil Younger series, but cringe at some of the violence. In this book I liked the problem of him taking his mentally challenged roommate with him to Centralia while investigating Angela Ramirez's murder. I especially liked learning the story of the Veteran's Day violence back in 1919. It was very interesting. Because of this story from history this book is my favorite in the series.