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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review - PROPERTY by Valerie Martin

For some reason my uploading of photos is failing so there is no cover picture to indicate anything about this book. Winner of the Orange Prize of 2003 Property is a look at Southern Life (note the capitals) in America during the time of the Civil War.

My reading for this period is sketchy and my knowledge of the American Civil War, the revolt by the slaves, and this turbulent period of history is very limited. I was horrified at the very inhuman way our main protagonist Manon Gaudet views life, her husband and the slaves. Her husband is evil enough, she is evil through absolute indifference to their plight, to being even aware of the people as humans. It displays both Manon, and the people all around her as being almost inhuman and today would be accused of war against humanity for their behavior towards their slaves.

Manon is a young, unhappily married woman who romanticized marriage and thought she was getting a catch for her husband. Within a day and a night her ideas were thrown out of the window and she grew so detached from him, that her only idea was that one day he would die and she almost wished it on a daily basis. Her indifference was appalling whereas his feelings towards her were both hypocritical and different. They were both concerned as to what society would think while both of them inwardly wished to be rid of the other, and as quickly as possible if you please.

The minds of Manon and her circle made me find it difficult to even read the book - I was cringing inside at the way everyone behaved towards their slaves. Slaves were not people, not even property as they described it but almost like an inanimate thing to be kept/disposed/sold at the whim of their owner. This was a horrific period to read about but I was glad I did. An education of the mind if nothing else.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review - What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice has an accident at the gym and when she wakes up she is being taken to hospital for possible concussion. She also cannot understand who is this Jane who is bossing her about or where her husband Nick is. She has forgotton the last ten years of her life with disastrous results for herself and everyone around. She has three children whom she cannot remember at all and thinks of them as toddlers whereas she is faced with the reality of three children who are in turns resentful, rude and loud in their protests of where there life is going.

Alice herself is horrified how she has turned out. She cannot imagine that she pays 150 Dollars for a personal trainer once a week, and that two cleaning ladies turn up on her doorstep to clean her house. She cannot understand where the relationship with her husband has gone and is dismayed to find out that she is "supposed" to be having an affair with the local school Principal!

Though we only know of Alice pre accident from snippets of the story you begin to realize that a transformation of Alice has taken place over 15 to 20 years and not a very nice one at that. In cases like this everyone wants the person to recover her memory so that she can go back to where she was, but in this case Alice does not want to go back to how she was prior to the accident. Alice does not like what she sees as pre accident and feels that her hopes and fears about a reconciliation with Nick will depend on her being anything but what she was like before the accident.

An unusual way of handling memory loss, lots of family fun, horrible teenagers acting out parents worst nightmares, light literature at its best.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Mannar children - Non book blogging post once again

I was speaking to the nun in charge as I do often to check on progress, needs etc and she mentioned to me that two of our elder girls Revathy and Nishanthini are doing their Advanced Level examinations in August and she is very hopeful that they would be able to qualify for university. This is very good news and something that is huge. Mannar is a "difficult" area, the
school system is there, but neglected and for Advanced Level classes you have to travel 20 or 30 kms away for private tuition if you really want to get higher marks to qualify for University.

I am worried over English language skills as this is also a requirement for University so we will
have to think on what we can do to brush up their skills.

This is where my blog friends come in. Is there anyone out there who/or their children would be willing to write to these girls - we have children from the age of 21 to ten - all girls and one little boy of 4. Letters could be sent direct to the children and Sister will help out with translation. I feel the contact with the outside world is limited and it is very important for them to know that there is a big wide world out there. The children all have been very badly affected by decades long war and it is time for them to come out and to think that other people care about them as well.

The photographs I have posted are a couple of months old but it gives you a rough idea of the children we have.

Any takers?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review - Then she found me by Elinor Lippman

The cover of this book attracted me - it was quirky and quite modern. The book was just like that. A modern day version of the different kinds of love.

A 17 year old falls pregnant and gives away her baby - but finally we discover this happened in unusual circumstances. April the daughter in this case discovers family secrets - but it is one discovery at a time - and most of the time the first discovery counter effects the first so that she is left bemused, angry, puzzled and mainly hurt at the deception of her biological mother.

Bernice as the mother is a talk show host - brash, looking out for number one and in this case it is definitely not her daughter. Then we get April - sedate, not used to taking rash decisions and opposite of her mother.

This was a book which kept you wanting more. I did not know it had been turned into a film but I can imagine how good it must be - given the scope of the story.

Mailbox Monday 27th June

Mailbox Monday was a meme sponsored by Marcia from the Printed Page. It is presently on tour and for the month of June it is at The Bluestocking Guide.

These are the books that came to my house this past week.

A dream of mine to visit and I love the book.

I did not even know this has been made into a film. You can imagine how way behind I am. I liked the quirky cover very much.

Branded as chick lit, the book deals with a 40 year old who has a severe fall in the gym and then realizes that she has forgotton the last ten years of her life. Very interesting.

Adam a student at Cambridge goes to Tuscany (another dream destination of mine!) to study the Docci villa.

Now to visit all the other mailboxes and drool.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review - The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

The book was a gift from Mary and it was such a thoughtful one!

Milly and Twiss two elderly sisters live together in a barn of a house which is falling down around their ears. They have a reputation for treating injured birds . One day a young mother brings around an injured bird and an inadvertent remark sets off a chain of events which take the sisters and the story right back to 1947 when they were teenagers, and so the story starts.

It was for me a sad read - Milly always knew she wanted to get married and have a family. Twiss was not so. Then their father meets with an accident, loses his job and his common sense and the whole family disintegrates. How Milly puts family before self is heart breaking. With the arrival of Bett their cousin their world is turned upside down and all dreams of a future are gone.

The ramifications of a small town, everyone knowing everyone else's business, the sense of family loyalty and sibling love and how it eventually leads to the two old spinsters living out their days alone is tough. Right through I was rooting for Milly to do something for herself and eventually for Twiss who would have followed in her sister's footsteps but then it was not the story I had set it out to be.

Though not a happily ever after story in the strictest sense of the word, the sisters were content and happy in their little world. Milly obviously felt the sacrifice was well worth it though I was angry throughout that parents could be so blind and selfish!!!

A beautiful, nostalgic read.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Travel travails and a lesson learnt!

This is going to be another non book blogging post!

After a very long time (over ten years or maybe even more) I used a bus for what we in Sri Lanka call a long distance journey. Colombo to Rosella usually by car three hours today four hours by bus. The post is just to indicate how far removed one can be from what is actually happening around one despite me thinking that I am very much feet on the ground and aware of life around me!!!

Buses start at the main terminal known as Pettah - please put aside any preconceived ideas of queues, uniformity, method and no garbage around. Pettah is just the opposite but it caters for a huge number of passengers, gets the job done and somehow life moves on. I was taken aback at the bustle and what goes on in this terminal apart from catching a bus!!! We had vendors for oranges, apples at the absolutely bargain price of Rs 100 for four (believe me that is cheap) then there were the books to teach children and even adults Singhalese and Tamil giving translations and pronounciation of each word (very timely considering that we just finished a war) and that in this tiny country of ours each race generally speaks only their own language and has no idea at all of what the other is talking about, then there were the astrologers who would be able to tell your fortune in two minutes flat before the conductor of the bus chases him out, the vendors of religious images, toys (I was very interested in something that looked good which did not need batteries - the attraction was the no batteries sales pitch) and for one hour before the bus left you had a choice of so many things all brought to your seat!!

The purpose of this post is not me being frivolous!!! I just realized that I am living in a small cocoon of my own, happily going my way without any idea of how people manage because believe me travelling even just to and from work is a big part of everyday life. I travel quite a lot in Sri Lanka because we have agricultural property which we visit every week - and this today was an eye opener for me. It was interesting because it was new but imagine having to sit in a bus and wait for one hour (9 am to 10 am) till the bus gets filled up to the driver's satisfaction - I will be grinding my teeth in frustration thinking of all what I could do for the hour. No you cannot get on to your laptop as no connections, apart from having the whole bus peering o ver your shoulder. This is not a place for personal space!Imagine listening for four hours to loud and I mean loud Hindi music (this in a country where Hindi is not one of our languages - its just that Bollywood is so popular here) something equivalent to Americans having to listen to maybe Russian hits for four hours.

I came away with one lesson learnt - patience and tolerance. All this will pass. And it did and I am blessedly quiet in Rosella where the only sound is a train every half hour which I can see very clearly from my bedroom window.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Opening of new building for girls in orphanage in Mannar

I was in Melbourne when the new building for the girls was opened and my husband deputized for me! He is the one in the second photograph being garlanded!

This is a traditional blessing of the Tamil people!

Any move into a new building is first done with the boiling of milk - the milk is boiled till it overflows and it must overflow to signify plenty.

The surrounding flower shape around the hearth is done with colored coconut. The military have helped a great deal in the rehabilitation process - clearing ground, making it safe for civilians. These are military from the area.

The priests from the area.

This was a huge achievement for us all!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review - The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra

A dream of mine is to visit Varanasi and when I saw the cover of this book I just grabbed it from my friend as it depicts the ghats of Varanasi also known as Benares.

The story set in Benares is one of Samar - young, innocent and idealistic, conservative and from an orthodox Brahmin background just finding his feet in the world in general - the university as well as foreigners (for him an unknown).

Samar finds it difficult to understand many things - love and marriage. In an arranged marriage which is the norm for Samar's world love and marriage are not spoken together! Marriage is arranged for lots of reasons and love is not one of them. Put this with the concept of Catherine living together with Anand and being in love with him - she also falls in love or lust with Samar and this for him is heartbreaking as well as a puzzle. Can someone love two people at one time? Samar is so innocent that it is difficult to understand how one can come to his age and still remain so untouched by the harsh world of reality. But it does happen specially to people who come from protected backgrounds and those who only know the little world of their own community and village. Thrust into the larger world Samar has to confront and understand a whole world which is foreign to him.

There are many reviewers who have viewed this book saying it emphasises too much the poverty, the grime and squalor of the poor and slums of India. True - this is apparent in the book but one must understand that we are dealing with a massive population and however much you try to refine and see the beauty of India, the poor are always on its periphery and probably will always be there.

I liked this book very much - specially because of the descriptiveness of Benares for me a personal favourite.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mailbox Monday - 20th June

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Hosted in June at The Bluestocking Guide

This book was a gift from a friend in Australia. I have been wanting to visit Varanasi (the picture of the ghats on the cover is from Varanasi) so I just grabbed it almost before it was given to me.

This was a gift from Mary (Bookfan) who out of the blue sent me this. I very, very seldom read the very latest that has come out unless I am in Melbourne visiting the children. Even in Melbourne this book was just "on order" when I was there last. So I am so lucky to get this. Thank you Mary.

I hope your mailboxes were equally interesting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review - Life in Miniature by Linda Schlossberg

Spoken from 12 year old Adie's point of view this was a different perspective of a story told of a mother's gradual decline into delusion and how two daughters Miriam and Adie try to hold it together, how Miriam gives up and disappears and how the 12 year old Adie is left trying to hold it together with some semblance of normality.

It is also sad to see how without the extended family support that would have existed some years ago, how isolated one small family of mother and two daughters can become. It hit me very hard of how children could be left bereft and open to anything and everything the world could throw at you, if there is no caring adult around to keep an eye on things. How Adie and Miriam are forced to cope with life, school, neighbours and the world in general is the focus of this book.

Mindy as the mother and her gradual decline is sad - how Adie is forced to accept that her mother is different, how Adie also begins to realize the fickleness of friends who may or may not be there for you, and how you just have to learn to cope when everything else is falling apart is very well told in this book. A sad story which ends well enough but it opened my eyes to the isolation of the modern family. Despite people knowing about Mindy's mental state no one wants to get involved - the sense of minding your own business and maintaining personal space has been carried out to the point of it being almost indifference to the plight of this family. I wondered whether this is going to be the situation for many families in the future. This idea of not interfering in things which do not concern us may be taking us to the point of not being even aware of situations which genuinely need help?

A book which opened a lot of questions for me and made me re-think my own boundaries of what I should or shouldn't do.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review - Anna Godbersen's THE LUXE

This was a win from Amber of Feed your Reading Habit. Set in 1899 in a sequel of months leading to a wedding and finally a funeral, the book takes us through the lives of elite New York
families and the stand they rigidly follow, maintaining peculiar standards of their own in a tightly knit enclosed world (almost like royalty).

Elizabeth our main character is destined for a wonderful marriage, much more important than before as the family is bankrupt. So far it has been kept a secret known just to the immediate family only. Elizabeth is the dutiful daughter. She will do what is best for all. We get Henry next, playboy but who has to knuckle down in order that his father can get into politics - he is forced into a loveless marriage, he knows he has no choice however reluctant he is. We have the younger sister Diana - outspoken, fearless and innocent who falls in love with her brother in law without even knowing that it is happening and then we have Penelope the evil one - in love with Henry and furious and green with envy that Elizabeth has walked away with the prize catch. We also have unexpected love stories which may or may not have happy endings.

The story is interlinked very closely with the characters and the plot thickens. I did realize that there was going to be a twist in the tale very early on and it worked out like that which was an interesting take on a straight forward story. YA mixed with a dash of romance and intrigue is the best way to describe this story. A genre which is new to me but very likeable!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Short review - Adele Parks The other woman's shoes

The book was a gift from my daughter and which did yeoman service whilst I was waiting for my husband to recover from surgery. It was not a heavy read but a very pleasant light one.

Eliza and Martha two sisters face it out with partners and ditch and are ditched by them on one and the same day. The saga of how Martha prim and proper handles the separation which is almost a foreign language to her as she imagined her life picture perfect and Eliza who realizes very early on the mistake she made is the gist of this story.

Very easy read.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mailbox Monday 13th June 2011

Mailbox Monday was a meme initiated by Marcia of The Printed Page. It is presently on tour and for this month it is being hosted by The Bluestocking Guide. Kristi of The Story Siren continues with her meme of In my Mailbox. Both memes show bloggers what books came into their homes for the week.

My mailbox is pleasantly full this week.

The Luxe was a win from Amber of Reading Habit. Thanks Amber.

Intrigued by the cover and a gift from my friend Faye in Melbourne. New author for me.

My daughter was clearing her house and sent me this book. I started on this right away as I wanted to read something light which I could put aside as and when I wanted and this seems to fit the bill.

These two books were from Rachel. I won just one book and she had read about my whingeing re the lack of books and sent me two. Thank you ever so much.

Now to visit all the other Mailboxes!

Book Blogger Hop 10/6 to 13/6

I missed out on the Blogger Hop for several weeks due to family commitments and lack of time. I have now returned back home to Sri Lanka from Melbourne. I had to come earlier than scheduled as my husband needed urgent surgery (surgery done before I came but fortunately he has come out of it well). Trying to catch up on so much is tough.

This weeks blog is being hosted by Lori. Normally hosted by Jen at Crazy for books it allows one to meet bloggers of every genre.

This weeks question is one I think all of us have thought about.


Mine would be a mix of dead and alive ones! Would have loved to have met Shakespeare,
Jane Austen and Dickens. In their absence I would go for Joanna Trollope, Chevy Stevens and
P D James.

Please visit the blog links and see what interests you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review Tahmima Anam's THE GOLDEN AGE

The story starts with Rehana at her husband Iqbal's grave saying that she has lost the children. It was a peculiar twist and for a moment I thought the children had died but very soon we learn that Iqbal's brother through a court order has obtained legal custody of Rehana's two children. Rehana is heart broken because she feels that she was given an opportunity of speaking up in court and she did not do so. Now it is upto her to find a way to get her children back.

The story of Rehana and Maya and Sohail( whom Rehana gets back within an year) is one part of the story. The other is the period in history in Bangladesh where the great partition took place, where Pakistan and Bangladesh were divided, over a million people died, hundreds of thousands of families became refugees on both sides of the border, and where war and brutality affected the ordinary man. Ordinary women like Rehana who was just a middle class widow trying to bring up her two teenaged children.

How the beginning of the war destroys life as it was for Rehana, the growth of urban terrorism and Sohail himself being a guerilla, how Maya turned her talent for writing towards propaganda for the cause of Bangladesh's freedom is the story of The Golden Age. It is also about Rehana hoping and praying that life could go back to what it was before the war. This can of course never be - life never ever goes back to what it was before.

This book was awarded a prize in 2008 and is a very comfortable read. My first read of a Bangladeshi author and now I must look for The Good Muslim the sequel to this. This book is part of my contribution towards the South Asian Challenge 2011 conducted by S. Krishna.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review - Jennifer Haigh's BAKERS TOWN

My time in Melbourne is coming to an end (leaving on Thursday) so my enormous reading binge has also come almost to an end. Read so many new authors (this is the interesting part) as then I have a further list of authors to keep track of! Jennifer Haigh's book Faith was the one I was looking for and then this came up. What a good book to read as a second choice.

As usual immigrant families this time Polish/Italian mix - the stories and histories, the culture and the food they bring to mainstream life is so imaginative, so different and then they all assimilate at sometime or the other. Rose left widowed with a number of children, all of them different, no means of survival and the backdrop of a coal town with its just one main source of income.

Small town life broken up into groups like Polish town, or the posh areas are vividly descriptive in the book. How difficult it is to break out of the mould and make something of your life means in this case that you have to spread your wings. How the family goes about doing this and at the same time being drawn back to home and hearth is the story of this book. How each member of the family find love, stability and peace of mind is part of the story.

A lovely read.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blogger difficulties - posting comments

I am having problems posting comments to some blogs only. It is applicable to only
some of the comment postings which seems strange as they are all on GFC.

Anyone out there who can help?

Review - Patrick Hamilton's The Slaves of Solitude

I read about this first from Thomas from Stuck in a Book and it was a surprise when the library had it available. Not a very long book I was able to finish it in one go also because I could not keep it for the following morning!

Set in the bleakest of backgrounds during the Second World War in a boarding house all occupied by people who seem lost and without any direction, we have a time of shortages and a seemingly unending war, blitzes and bombings and short tempers and irrational fears and irritations.

Miss Roach, sensible and conservative has to put up with the bullying of Mr. Thwaites who seems to want to terrorize her into a feeling of helplessness (which he succeeds very well), we then have the American Lieutenant who helps her to enjoy herself a bit, and then comes in Vickie Kugelmann the German refugee and this is when Miss. Roach's real problems begin.

Courageous and gritty and how everyday Brits just got on with it despite overwhelming odds and difficulties, the manner in which life changed for people especially for women (drinking in a public house and smoking in public!!!) the role of women in everyday life changed forever. On a more intimate level the difficulties of female friendships and how women may have to work harder to make a friendship really work out is also highlighted in this book. The author deals very cleverly with relationships as seen in the boarding house and how every timid person has its limit and that Miss. Roach is not going to be intimidated forever!

A good book.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review - Christopher Fowler THE VICTORIA VANISHES

I first read of the series and the pair Bryant and May through Sakura - it was on my TBR but my TBR is a bit of a hit and miss affair. When I actually got these books (there is another to follow) I was delighted. I later realized that they are a series and I have come in mid way but I do not think it affected the story in any way.

I found the book slow going till around the 70th page when it perked up and got interesting right to the end. I liked very much the humour right throughout the story. Is it representative of the so called British humour? I would think so. Slightly quirky, slightly sarcastic at all times but such good reading.

Sixth in the series the PCU (Peculiar Crimes Unit) solves as it says peculiar crimes which do not come under the Metropolitan Police. Bryant and May back from the country are in London once again and right now Bryant is not feeling himself - loss of memory and maybe creeping old age whilst May has been diagnosed with cancer.

Several middle aged single women have died around pubs in London. Seemingly unconnected all die from a fatal injection. None of them are attacked in any other way. This is the last case which the two are going to handle as the higher ups are determined to disband this unit. The story becomes interesting when one victim seen at The Victoria by Bryant himself later turns out to be a puzzle. The Victoria as a pub had ceased to exist since 1927 and we are all beginning to doubt whether Bryant is actually declining into senility. Bryants description of the pub, all the detail including the background is so authentic that you do realize that a mystery is afoot.

There is a lack of blood and gruesomeness normally reminiscent of murder mysteries but there are clues scattered around which I did not connect at all! In addition what I really liked was the introduction of a series of London pubs, including ancient history and tidbits of information, trivia sometimes but very, very interesting trivia at that.

Liked the book and definitely in for a pub crawl when I am in London next (if ever!).

Review Peter Mayle's Provence A - Z

For someone like me where it is most unlikely that I would visit Provence this I think is the next best thing. I have read his books before and found them delightful. All the idiosyncracies and quirks of Provence are brought to life in this book. Things present and things past as well so everyone is very well catered for. It is not just a book that would be suitable for a traveller to the region, it is a book that will suit anyone with just an interest in life and living!

History, culture, food, people, wine, agriculture, industry and tourism are all covered in this wonderful almost encyclopaedic book.

Enjoyed the read very much.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review - Anuradha Roy - THE FOLDED EARTH

As usual I read about this on the blogs but the cover did nothing for me. The story however was wonderful. Set in a remote hill cantonment of Raniket in very northern India the book revolves around Maya who is seeking a refuge after the very sudden death of her husband Michael. Disowned by a Hindu orthodox family for marrying a Kerala Christian the story is timeless.

It is also set in a very picturesque part of India - very distant from the humid, hot India which I personally know and makes me long for Shimla and Nainital and the hill stations!

Very reminiscent of the British Raj we are dealing with army generals and brigadiers, former Raj's who still seem to live in British India - deploring the lack of discipline and formality long gone. On the other hand we see the emerging hill tribes, politics in all its glorious Asian colors, romance, family ties and a beautiful story which actually unfolds. I loved the bits about Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten so long discussed and pored over and gloated over and how these very normal and much talked about bits are taken by Anuradha Roy and made into something very visual and very poignant is what this story is all about. The mundane and usual become something much more.

A very enjoyable read. Another book contribution by me for the South Asian Challenge 2011 conducted by S. Krishna.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review - Willa Cather's OBSCURE DESTINIES

Not a review as such but it was such a delight for me to find this book. I had read about this author on several blogs and most people considered it very good reading. Like Dorothy Whipple or Dodie Smith I thought I would have to be just happy with reviews only. So this was very good for me personally!!!

A collection of three stories all set in Nebraska all dealing very much about the frailities of human nature, there is joy, sadness, family lives all put together very beautifully in language which is so very expressive.

I loved the book.

Review - Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni's ONE AMAZING THING

Another wonderful book by this author who never fails to amaze me with her writing.

Set in a visa office in the States it takes just one incident (an earthquake) and how nine

people put together in an enclosed space for over 36 hours survive by their sheer wit.

It opens with Uma a very Westernized Indian girl waiting for her visa application number to be called and impatient about it. We have different characters, different races all wanting to go to India and we wonder what the idea behind the whole visit is. The book keeps you going from page to page as everyone is different, everyone is not what they seem to be and each one's story is better than the next.

Uma comes up with the idea of each one telling a story. Just something from their lives which would interest the others because until they are rescued there is no entertainment, no electricity, the room is getting slowly flooded and no one knows when and if they will be rescued.

The stories are so human, so intriguing that you want to know what Uma says, what Lily says, what is Mr. Pritchett actually like and why does Mrs Pritchett who seems so amenable flare up so angrily, why is Tariq so violent, is he actually a terrorist or are we racially profiling once again. The book is so very good taking us from the present into the past, that I cannot recommend it enough. I have read a few of her books but I did not know that she has written fourteen of them so definitely a visit to the library to check out her other books is a must.

This is also one of my reads towards the South Asian Challenge 2011 conducted by S. Krishna.

Brief Review - Katherine Howell's VIOLENT EXPOSURE

I have read very few books by Australian authors so when I saw this recommended I thought I'd read it right away. The author is a former ambulance officer so there is a great deal of authenticity and detail in that part of the book.

The story of a murder - a violent one at that and all suspicions pointing out to the husband in this case. How through a series of deductions the eventual murderer is found is how the story works out. Add to this ambulance officers (a once in a lifetime incident by one who gets tempted by piles of drug money lying around!), the police, an aid group for displaced and vulnerable teenagers and you've got a good story going.