The Suspect by L.R. Wright. Felony & Mayhem, 2008. (Originally published 1985)
1986 Edgar Winner for Best Novel
The Suspect is the first in L.R. Wright's Karl Alberg series and the first Canadian novel to win an Edgar Award. Alberg is a police officer in a small town on Canada’s Sunshine Coast where there is little other than petty crime. That is, until an elderly man turns up murdered. Alberg works to uncover the long-held secrets surrounding the crime and catch his man.
Rather than a “who done it,” The Suspect is a “why done it.” The book actually opens with the murder of eighty-five year old Carlyle by the slightly younger George. Even though you know who did it, following Alberg on his search is still intriguing. Why in the world would one elderly man kill another? What is their history? Throw in a librarian who starts dating Alberg but who is also a close friend of the killer and you’ve really got the makings of a fun tale.
The Suspect follows the psychological journey of both Alberg and George Wilcox as they dance around each other. The rear cover of my copy has a small box that says “Who’s likely to like this? Fans of Scandinavian mysteries, with which it shares a sense of chilly introspection.” Definitely an apt phrase. I also see the similarity with Scandinavian mysteries though The Suspect moves much faster than most of the Scandinavian mysteries I’ve read.
This is another Edgar winner that has stood the test of time. Unlike some of the earlier Edgar winners I read, I didn’t feel like I was stepping back in time. This story could take place today as easily as in the 1980s. If you enjoy mysteries about the why instead of the who, I would definitely recommend The Suspect.
Reading challenge : Edgar Awards
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