on January 17, 2003
The elderly patient has not come to the doctor for her arthritis. Memories of being tortured during the dirty war in Argentina haunt her. Her doctor treats her with psychotherapy. Then one day she is found murdered. For her doctor, the end of the medical case, the start of the murder case. The doctor is Dr. Rebecca Temple, the detective in Sylvia Warsh's striking first mystery To Die in Spring.
The mysterious setting of this thriller is not dark alleys or mysterious forests, but the ethnic subcultures of Toronto. The strands of the motive for the murder of Dr. Temple's patient
stretch in time back to the second world war, in space to
Argentina, Germany, Poland. Rebecca Temple must search for clues
through Toronto's Latino bar scene and the Jewish nursing home
The novel probes into an interesting but little know detail of Nazi lore, Jewish museums. Hitler planned that when Europe had been rendered Judenrein--purified of Jews--there should be museums housing Jewish artifacts to show future Aryan generations what Jews were--now that they should be extinct. We venture into the world of the strange mentality of the Nazi Judaica expert, the collector of Jewish artifacts for these museums.
To Die in Spring has another uncommon feature for a mystery.
It features two detectives in rival pursuit of the same criminal.
Dr. Temple competes with Nesha Malkevitch, who, armed with evidence from the Simon Wiesenthal Institute, is also hot on the trail of Dr. Temple's quarry, but for a crime committed against his family nearly forty years before. Nesha has no interest in turning the culprit over to the authorities. He carries a well-oiled revolver. The rivalry of two detectives: one who wants to enforce the law of society and bring the criminal to justice, one who wants to take the law into his own hands. Law versus revenge. Who has the ultimate authority over the criminal--the state, or the family of the victim? The author resolves this conundrum in an exciting denouement.
on February 3, 2002
This is an absorbing, elegant mystery novel set in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the spring of 1979. The main character is Rebecca Temple, a thirty-ish medical doctor, recently widowed and feeling guilty that she did not recognize the symptoms of her late husband's disease early enough to save him.
Rebecca, a dedicated professional, makes a house call to find out why a distraught, elderly patient has missed a regular appointment for psychotherapy. She discovers that the nice, well-groomed, but paranoid senior has been murdered.
Was Rebecca's diagnosis wrong? Was her patient really being followed all this time by someone from her past who wanted to kill her? So Mrs. Kochinsky had claimed over and over again!
Now Rebecca feels she has failed her patient as well as her husband. Thus, when the police dismiss the case as a random, botched robbery, Rebecca decides that she herself must investigate. Her journey to the truth takes her to painful pasts in Argentina and Poland--pasts still present in North America. It also allows her to meet Nesha, an appealing but emotionally-damaged, forty-ish stranger from San Francisco.
Nesha also wants to know what really happened to Mrs. Kochinsky--urgently! Rebecca is drawn to him. Can he help her solve the mystery? Can she heal him? Can he heal her?
To Die in Spring is not only a carefully-crafted suspense thriller but also a fascinating lesson. Without being ponderous or didactic, the author teaches about World War II, Jewish culture, fine art, modern Toronto, and the long-term effects of war on women and children.
Above all, however, this is a good story. It has a terrific plot, loveable characters, gentle humour, precise details, and graceful style. Highly recommended!