Friday, December 20, 2013

Richard Helms' Six Mile Creek

Richard Helms' Six Mile Creek is a murder mystery with a bit of social commentary attached to it. The setting is a small North Carolina town, not too far away from a larger city like Charlotte. A high school girl, who is Latina, is found murdered. Police Chief Judd Wheeler investigates.

It's not filled with Deep Thoughts, but the overall theme is about preconceptions and deep seated views. Everyone assumes there is a race war brewing, when there is not. Everyone assumes drugs have not reached the town, when they have. Everyone holds high school football players on a pedestal, when they don't deserve it. The stereotype that turns out to be justified (in the novel, anyway) is that rich white men who control small towns are largely jerks.

Chief Wheeler solves the crime, of course, as well as a few others that pop up along with the way. What he finds is high school replicating adulthood. The same obsession with money and status. Even ethnicity is subsumed under that, Anglo-Latino tensions are less about "difference" per se and more about encroachment on women or turf.

What is oddly missing is a single African American character. The town is Anglo or Latino.

As a solid mystery, I recommend it.


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