Thursday, February 26, 2015

A String Of Beads


I just finished the latest Jane Whitefield novel from Thomas Perry.  If you haven't read him, he is consistently good and worth checking out.  This is a series, though, and you should start with the first one.

Jane is a Seneca and has a talent for helping people disappear when they need to go.  She doesn't hide criminals, but people who have angered the wrong people and don't trust the police to save them.  Jane teaches them how to completely change all their usual routines and gets them new identities and places them in new cities.  It is a long process and dangerous.  Most people are not prepared and have no money, so she doesn't charge them.  Once they are established elsewhere, many people send her money or offer to help in other ways.

These relocations are frequently dangerous as people don't give up everything and everybody they know unless it is to save their lives.

Jane is now married and doesn't want to do this kind of work anymore.  But one day her clan mothers from the Tonawanda band show up at her house.  They have a situation with Jimmy Sanders,  a young man from Jane's youth on the reservation.  He has been accused of murder, a crime he didn't commit, and they have heard that people are getting themselves arrested and put in jail, so that he can be killed if he turns himself in to the authorities.  He needs to hide until his name can be cleared and they want Jane to do it.

She didn't even know that they were aware of her work in this area. 

One of the clan mothers gives her a string of beads, an ote-ko-a.  The rest of the world called it wampum and thought of it as a form of money.  But it wasn't.  It was a sacred commemoration.  It was a way for the clan mothers to assign a an important task and it is not something Jane could take lightly or refuse.

She needed to find where Jimmy was hiding and then keep him safe.  Later, Jane would need to try to find out who really committed the crime and clear his name.  And not get dead, because it turns out the Mob is involved.

As you can imagine, her husband is not on board with this plan and it causes some tension in their relationship.  Again.

Perry writes a compelling mystery and is worthy of a read.

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