By Carol Shields

To her neighbours, Mary Swann used to be an easy, hard-working farm spouse; her smooth poems are chanced on in basic terms after she is brutally murdered. The unusual, evocative verses allure the eye of an earnestly self-absorbed feminist student, a pompous literary biographer, a virginal small-town librarian, and a curmudgeonly retired newspaper editor. yet as curiosity raises, all lines of Swann's life - her laptop, the 1st draft of her paintings, even her picture - mysteriously vanish.

In fixing the puzzle of Swann's disappearing legacy, Carol Shields explores the bigger mysteries of the character of artwork, in addition to the robust forces that encourage us all.

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He couldn’t question them because they’d go squealing to Superintendent Reine, and they would warn Jarrett. It would also be the same with the staff. That left him with two courses of action: one to ride Jarrett as hard as he dared without getting kicked out of the police service, until he forced Jarrett’s hand in some way, and the second was to find Lucy and get her to tell him the truth. But where was she? On his return to work yesterday, he had checked criminal records. Nothing. She hadn’t been picked up on any charges in the last two months since her disappearance.

Pmd 32 14/11/2005, 18:15 T IDE OF D EATH 33 kitchen; sooner or later she was bound to hear the news and might make the connection, better if he told her now. That way he could get something of Thurlow’s and make a quick identification. Time was critical and he didn’t mean purely in terms of tracking down the killer while the trail was still warm. He couldn’t see her going into hysterics. She wasn’t the type. Self-contained was perhaps how he might describe her; cold is what others might say. It was a description that had been levelled at him but self-containment, he knew, was a protection against being hurt.

Was it a random killing? pmd 40 14/11/2005, 18:15 T IDE OF D EATH 41 and killed instantly and spontaneously? Mutilation was common in such cases. Or had it been planned and the victim known to the killer? A crime of passion perhaps? Somehow he couldn’t see Mrs Thurlow working herself up into a passion about anything except her fuchsias. Or was it a crime of hatred? Horton’s fingers curled around the envelope in his pocket. Could he have done that to Colin Jarrett? Was hatred enough? It often was, but in his case certainly not enough to take someone’s life.

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Swann by Carol Shields


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