Monday, July 05, 2010

Mystery #4

I came about mystery #4 the good old-fashioned way: I browsed the shelves. So often I read books that cross my desk for one reason or another, or which I read a review of. It's rare that I treat myself to a stroll up and down the aisles, just picking something that looks good. I found myself in the "B's" one afternoon, and picked up Jo Bannister's "The Tinderbox." As it turns out, it's not part of a series, so it can be read as a stand-alone title. It is also an international mystery, taking place in England.

A fifteen-year-old girl goes missing after her clarinet exam. She was a happy, well-loved, cared for, upper-middle class teenager in Birmingham. It makes no sense to her family, and the police have no leads. Six years later, her brother sees a documentary in school about homeless people in an area of London called "The Tinderbox." He thinks he sees Cassie in the background, and shows it to his parents. Laurence Schoefield, their father, heads for The Tinderbox to find her.

The Tinderbox is an incredibly dangerous place. One must belong to a "family" in order to gain protection and stability. "Jonah the Loner" does not belong to a family, though, and somehow finds himself helping Laurence Schoefield try to find his daughter. Jonah and Schoefield find themselves in treacherous situations, barely escaping with their lives on more than one occasion. They have a mutual distrust of each other, and yet a loyalty they can't explain. Their relationship is one of the most interesting parts of the book.

Unfortunately, the reader never finds out why Cassie left home in the first place - a missing piece I'm a little disappointed by. The action is great, though. This book has a fast pace with enough grit to make you cringe as you feel the discomfort of its homeless characters. Will Laurence Schoefield find his daughter? Will she come home with him? Will Jonah let Schoefield help him? Will they even get out alive? You'll have to read the book to find out. Trust me - it's worth it! I'd read another book by Jo Bannister!

Mystery re-count:
1. Cold Day in Paradise by Steve Hamilton
2. Track of the Cat by Navada Barr
3. Family Skeletons by Rett MacPherson
4. The Tinderbox by Jo Bannister
5. I've received lots of suggestions! I kind of want to finish Black Echo by Michael Connelly, so that's probably what I'll read next.

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