Sun 29 Nov 2009
SUZANNE BLANC – The Green Stone. Carroll & Graf, reprint paperback, 1984. Previous editions: Harper & Brothers, hc, 1961. Detective Book Club, hc, 3-in-1 edition, February 1962. Lancer, pb, 1966.
“Perhaps it is not prophecy at all but the belief in prophecy that fulfills it…” and destiny that brings certain people together in a given place, at a given time. For Mr. and Mrs. Randall, their destiny is to be murdered on a Mexican highway by bandits. And for Mrs. Randall’s emerald ring to be responsible for the danger and near death of Jessie Prewitt and ruin for Luis Pérez.
Jessie Prewitt comes to Mexico to flee the painful memories of her broken marriage. Luis Pérez, a tourist guide, hankers after a life of ease and wealth — and feels the possibility brush his fingertips when the beautiful emerald comes into his possession.
As quickly, police suspicion also brushes against Pérez, and he passes the gem onto Jessie (without her knowledge) when the police come to question him. Pérez intends to reclaim the jewel later — no matter what danger or force results.
As pressure builds for the police to find the emerald and solve the Randalls’ murder, so does the tension and suspense surrounding Pérez’ determination to regain the gem, and Jessie’s unwitting thwarting of his aim.
Told from the omniscient viewpoint, Suzanne Blanc creates very human characters, and allows the reader to understand their frustrations, anxieties and pleasures. Like a finely tuned piece of machinery, all the parts of this book work together in unison. The result is an exquisite “gem” of a story — seemingly plain and simple, but full of depth and color when held to the light.
Don’t neglect this one!
Bibliographic Data: [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin.]
BLANC, SUZANNE. Ca. 1915-1999
The Green Stone (n.) Harper 1961 [Insp. Miguel Menendes] Edgar winner: Best First Mystery, 1962.
The Yellow Villa (n.) Doubleday 1964 [Insp. Miguel Menendes]
The Rose Window (n.) Doubleday 1967 [Insp. Miguel Menendes]
The Sea Troll (n.) Doubleday 1969