Monday, April 11, 2016

Now I Know Where Kinsey GETS It | Marcia Muller Pushes Through! PART TWO

So let’s get into those quotes/passages I mentioned in my previous post on Marcia Muller’s Edwin of the Iron Shoes.  But if you haven’t followed me to this post, these are the stand-out lines I loved.  They're the lines where I received a flood of realization on how Muller’s protagonist, Sharon McCone, gave roots to women investigators in hard-boiled in crime fiction.  Particularly roots for Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky’s V. I. Warshawski characters.  For more information, please refer to the previous post.  I’m going to have to try to reduce this down to a few, though.  If not, I’d probably serve up the entire book.
So let’s go!
“He was pushing too hard.  I kept my voice level.  ‘I’m not on my own; I’m an employee of All Souls.  I joined them after the detective agency fired me for refusing to jump at a special assignment that would have humiliated me and set up an innocent man for a very messy and expensive divorce.  And I don’t know about being what you call a “super-sleuth.”  I’m competent.  I’d say my strong point is knowing how to ask the right questions.  Without trying to cram my words into other people’s mouths.’”
Four chapters in and I already love McCone.  She has morals.  She has limits.  She has genuine concern for the individuals involved in her profession.  Most of all, she’s humble.  Yet brassy in a subtle way.
“On my way out of the kitchen, I grabbed a handful of cookies from the big jar that was always full of chocolate chips.  They would be my dinner.  Hank grinned and led me down the central hall to the second office on the right.”
This screamed Kinsey Millhone to me.  Anyone familiar with the character knows she’s obsessed with cheese/peanut butter and pickled sandwiches.  As well as Quarter Pounders.  (For a good while, I actually ate a few myself.  Didn't like them, but since Kinsey did....)  However, just the fluidity of McCone’s voice and actions in this scene stole me.  

I would say between the three, Warshawski has the best appetite.  Though she drinks too much.

“’You make it sound like the big safari is on.  Sure, I’m open to possibilities, but I’m not about to start prowling the singles bars.  I don’t have to be romantically involved with someone to feel complete, and certainly a woman would be desperate to turn to Greg Marcus for companionship.’”
My kind of woman.  Like many female private detectives, romance and love comes judiciously.  McCone’s vocalization on the subject is on par with Kinsey.  Though, to me, Kinsey seems more alight to romance.  Despite having two ex-husbands.  I’ll never forget that scene (forget which book, though) where Kinsey broke down in tears when one of her “in and outs” left her.  It's a scene the further humanized Kinsey and drew me closer to her character.  

The further I get into McCone, the more I’ll get to know how she really perceives love.  But I got the feeling something’s coming her way.  As for Warshawski, I know for a fact she’s not averse to sleeping with a man and sending him on his way.
“I turned to go then, leaving him to think on my words while I made a dignified exit, but I only succeeded in hooking the strap of my shoulder bag on the arm of the chair.  I turned back to wrenched it free, glaring.  Hank’s eyes were quietly amused.”
Simply love this.  Makes McCone all the more down-to-earth and human.
“Then I fished in my bag for one of the Hershey bars I always carried with me and had breakfast.”
Another Kinsey-esque move.  Though, of course, McCone’s been in the game longer.
“’I didn’t say I could describe him.  What’s important is he may have tried to decoy me away from the shop by breaking those windows.’”
While I can't give the scene away, this is when I recognized McCone's sharp process.  Nice one!
“’Listen, you nosy little bitch,’ Harmon said in a low shaking voice, his hands balled into fist.  ‘I’m not taking any crap off of you.’ 
“I kept my voice from revealing my fear and asked, ‘Are you going to call the police names when they come here with the same questions.’”
Precisely why I like characters like McCone.  She owns her fear, but recognizes she has a job to do with an image to maintain.  She's not absorbed into distractions.  Inner or outer.  Including having insults thrown at her by some misogynistic pig in a chair.  Cool.  Calm.  Collected.  That’s how she handles herself.  The added ingredient being her low-burning snarl.
“I moved my car down to the corner, where I could see both the front of Harmon’s place and the exit from the one-way alley behind it.  If he decided to leave either way, I would have him covered.”
Put those theories to work, McCone!
And in perfect closing…
“I smiled.  ‘No, but I’m a mean shot with a .38, and I bake terrific bread.”
Edwin of the Iron Shoes (Sharon McCone #1) by Marcia Muller 

Somehow missed PART ONE of this series of posts?  Click HERE.

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