Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Edwin the Confessor

"Edwin the Confessor" by Brian Richmond, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb, 2005

I've always been of the opinion that the first sentence of a story should be short and snappy with a hook to drag you in. I don't think Mr. Richmond is of the same opinion. If you tried to read the first sentence of this story aloud, you'd be gasping for breath before you got to the period. The one thing it does do is provide the hook - at the end of a VERY long line.

The story starts off being told in a third person voice that sounds remarkably like the main character telling his own story. When I try that I get hit with nasty comments like "authorial intrusion," so when I see the same thing in print it tends to annoy me. For crying out loud, just use first person and get it over with! Maybe that's just me. But after the first four paragraphs Mr. Richmond converts into a more conventional third person voice that's a lot easier to live with.

Aside from the beginning, the story is well written. The two main characters, Edwin Cunningham and the cop, McGrath are well drawn. McGrath is truly annoying. And that's a good thing.

The only thing about Cunningham that bothered me was when he suddenly asked for a lawyer after having spent 90% of the story trying to convince the police that he had killed his wife. Seemed a little jarring.

I did like the ending, though. A nice little payoff on the setup of what Cunningham had been telling the cops was his reason for killing his wife.

Overall a good story that could have been better.


At 4:55 AM, Blogger Brian said...

Hi Bob,
Thanks for your comments and for taking the time to think - and write - about the story. I think you made some valid points. If you have some back issues of AHMM, you might like to check out my 1st story, The Good Kid. I'm still learning my trade so I'm hoping to improve as I go along. Thoughful criticism certainly helps.
It also gives me a real buzz that, here I am writing the story in Ireland and you're reading - and partially enjoying - it over in the States.
Thansk again for your thoughts.


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