Murder is Pathological
MURDER IS PATHOLOGICAL (Maggie Ryan 1969)
The exploding wastebasket is a prank, but slaughtered lab rats have graduate student Maggie Ryan, Monica Bauer and the rest of the lab on edge. When the custodian is murdered, actor Nick O'Connor goes undercover to investigate, help that Maggie does not appreciate-- or does she? While Nick and Maggie search for the killer, Monica struggles to connect with a veteran who was shot in the head in Vietnam.
About MURDER IS PATHOLOGICAL (Maggie Ryan 1969)
"[Carlson's] work offers a unique combination of empathy for her characters, her sense of history, and her ability to weave the social and political currents of the '60s and early '70s into the stories." –– The Drood Review of Mystery
"The vandal is elusive. When at last the mystery is solved, the conclusion is stunning."––The Armchair Detective
Did the Vietnam war affect people like your characters differently from the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?Two things seem to me to be especially important in the effect of the Vietnam war. First was the universal draft. Every young male drew a number, and had to show up when it was called. There were exemptions, for men with disabilities, for college students (until they graduated), for national guard members, etc. But any young man of that age, and all his friends and family, knew that he could be sent to fight. So the war was much more immediate to many more Americans than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Today, with an all-volunteer military, the friends and family of active-duty US soldiers are not spread through the population, especially since the need for more troops is now met only partly by new recruits. It’s also met met by many soldiers who had expected to go home at the end of their tour, and are forced to stay for another one, or two, or more. The other big difference was television. In the sixties and seventies most Americans had TVs, but there were only three important channels, not the hundreds available now. So when the nightly news came on, the choice was NBC, ABC, CBS, or PBS, and the newscasters saw their jobs as straightforward reporters of facts, not of political opinions. War reporters were not embedded in US military units, and were free to investigate whatever they thought needed investigating. Of course the full experience of war, the horror and heroism and fear and friendships and betrayals, is impossible to boil down to a few minutes in a newscast in any era But at least families in the US could see every night that people–– including Americans they might know–– were suffering and dying in Vietnam. Today’s TV audiences can insulate themselves from what’s happening on the ground.
P.M. CARLSON BIO
P.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.
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