If you’re looking for an “easy reading” – Ned Crabb is the man! I really enjoyed myself following the adventures of Six and Alicia in Willow Pond. I had no trouble following that author in this gorgeous lodge in one of the most beautiful regions of the U.S : the Maine. A paradise for fishermen.
Preston Thorndike Seldon Hawthorne Whittier Garfield Godwin, nickname Six and his wife Alica, both former University professors, are enjoying their retirement in their summer house by the lake Winsokkett in Maine. They still run a small ancient books store during winter and during the summer they fish. Six got invited by his cousin, Iphigene (“Gene”) Seldon to spend the week-end at her place, one of the most luxurious fishing lodge in Maine, in Willow Pond.
Gene Seldon is an Amazon, 6ft2, 77 y.old she runs her society with an iron hand. She doesn’t get along with her family, two nephews and one niece. Actually, she has summoned her relatives, her lawyer and her accountant to announce them that she’s changing her will. She has no health issues but has decided to grant her youngest nephew, Kipper, her estate.
Kipper is in love with the Chef, Jean-Pierre, a Frenchman and they only have one desire : to move to New York city to open a new restaurant. His older brother, Brad, almost 50, is with their sister, Merrill, the best fishing guides of the region. But Brad is a notorious alcoholic, who drowns his depression in Bourbon and only dreams to get his share of the money. He’s been down since the brutal death of his parents, 18 years ago, struck dead by lightning. Merrill, a cocaine addict, dreams to get a divorce from her ex-husband to elope with Bruno, her French lover. But all of them are held prisoners in this lodge – their angry aunt has threatened to disinherit them if they leave the place.
As a huge storm is coming their way, Gene welcomes Six and Alicia when she gets a death threat. But the old lady doesn’t care. Her family and their companions all start to dream multiple ways to get rid of her. Sitting on a wealth estimated over 40 millions of dollars, Gene’s life only hangs by a thread….
And do I have fun! Because Ned Crabb is a master when it comes to dark humor. He has no shame and plays with his characters as much as he does with the reader. These folks have no morale, no ethics. They only care about the money, and their exes are the same. About a dozen of characters dream of Gene’s sudden disappearance. And she has much fun announcing them her upcoming wedding! A last strike before the storm and the-most-welcome power failure. Yes, a classical twist in a thriller but it works every time.
And lightning strikes, along with murders. The policemen are happy to associate Six and Alicia to their investigation. And of course, I can’t help thinking of an Agatha Christie’s crime novel : one unit of time, one unit of set, multiple suspects and an old couple who plays detective : Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, you name it! Here Six and Alica are fond of fishing, those two giants (over 6ft) love to lead the investigation, wether it’s in a fishing boat or at a bar with a glass of Bourbon.
I really enjoyed my reading, never boring – the only drawback would be the rhythm slowling down at the 4/5th of the book but it bounces again at the end – a quite joyful ending. Don’t miss it. I don’t like Bourbon but I definitely wanted to spend some time at the lodge, sitting on the deck, watching the sunset on the lake. Because Ned Crabb gives here a beautiful tribute to the Maine, its nature, its fishing spots – Ned Crabb lives in Maine a part of the year and you can feel his love for this region. A good reading for fishermen.
Despite the subject (a crime novel), Ned Crabb knows how to describe the fishing world, especially when one of the characters, a fishing guide leads his customers to a secret fishing spot.
Well, I won’t say much – just that I really enjoyed myself and hopefully, you’ll do too when you read Ned Crabb’s novel.