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A Bend in the River

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In the Woods

Tana French (2007)

ISBN-10: 0670038601

ISBN-13: 978-0670038602

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1. I read the file about my case the day I made detective. I had no memory of the actual events. In the summer of 1984 I was playing in the woods with my two best friends, Jamie and Peter, in our Dublin suburb of Knocknaree. When we didn’t return home for dinner our parents got concerned and eventually sounded the alarm. I was found clinging to a tree, battered and nearly catatonic. Despite an extensive search, my two friends were never found. The file stated that I made no voluntary movement for 36 hours and didn’t speak for 2 weeks. Immediately after I recovered my parents sent me to boarding school in England. By the time it was winter break, we had moved from Knocknaree, never to return.

I didn’t become a murder detective to solve my childhood mystery. Instead, I was taken in by the complexity of the work and the professional dedication of its practitioners. I read the file once and never planned to look at it again. My partner, Cassie, joined the squad only a few weeks after I started. She was young to be on the murder squad and only the fourth female member. For both of those reasons she became the subject of a lot of rumors. But I had my fair share as well because of the British accent I picked up at boarding school. We hit it off pretty quickly, became good friends, and soon asked to be partnered together. Over the next couple of years we learned the ropes and became dependable detectives.

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The Plot Spot plot summary: Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-Generaal Den Haag, the Hague, Netherlands
Handelingenkamer Tweede Kamer Der Staten-
Generaal Den Haag, the Hague, Netherlands

2. I hadn’t been back to Knocknaree since that summer until we caught the Devlin case. It was late August and archeologists had discovered the body of a young girl at their site. When we arrived I was surprised to realize that the archeological dig was at the same location where those woods had been twenty years earlier. The woods had been cleared and the plan was to pave everything over with a motorway once the archeologists were finished with their work.

Sophie, the lead crime-scene tech, told us that the girl was probably about twelve years old. The girl was lying on a large bronze-age ceremonial stone table. Underneath it one of the techs had found what she thought was blood, but it looked too old to be related to the current case. Nearby, a large rock appeared to be the murder weapon. However, Sophie guessed that the girl had been murdered somewhere else a day or two earlier and then left right in the middle at the dig site the night before.

3. I should have told my boss right away about my history with the location and possible connection to the case. But I would have been kicked off the case and probably questioned all over again about things that happened twenty years earlier, things about which I still had no memory. So I soldiered on, my ego making me believe that I could work through the case without a hint of my history needing to surface.

We started questioning the members of the archeological team while the techs collected their bits and pieces of evidence. They discovered a pink barrette that I seemed to remember Jamie wearing that day so many years ago. Before long the victim was matched to a missing girl from the neighborhood, Katy Devlin. Cassie and I went to the Devlin house to bring them the terrible news and see what we could learn.

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