Sunday, July 26, 2009
Crime fiction readers will find F. M. Meredith’s No Sanctuary deeply satisfying. It is an excellent police procedural and worth reading on those grounds alone. But there is so much more. Meredith rivals Ed McBain in her ability to create convincing cops and lead us through the twists and turns of investigation. She draws her characters and her setting in prose reminiscent of the British novelist Barbara Pym who was noted for her style, characterization, and sketches of village life. In short, Meredith has risen above genre fiction and created in Rocky Bluff a place you will enjoy visiting. Indeed, as I read the book, I kept having the strangest feeling that I had been there – this despite the fact that the place is fictional. Make no mistake, mystery aficionados will find their fixes in the intricate plot, the well scattered clues, the ‘aha moment’ (I almost missed it because it is so teasingly subtle), the suspense at the end, and the final resolution. But even people who don’t normally read mysteries will enjoy this book for its deftly drawn “slice of life,” a sort of updated Our Town. And finally, it has what every successful book of any genre must have – romance. I look forward to reading the four other books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series and hope more are forthcoming from this prolific and talented writer.