PROFILE: THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF HARRY LAVENDER, MARELE DAY
(A) The contemporary text The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender falls under the hard-boiled sub-genre of crime fiction.
The novel centers on Claudia Valentine, private investigator, and her attempts to discover the truth about the death of Mark Bannister, who died as a result of a malfunctioning pacemaker. The story soon transforms into a cat and mouse game between Claudia and the criminal mastermind of Sydney, Harry Lavender. The discovery of the manuscript Mark was writing – aptly titled “The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender” soon becomes the objective of both sides. Claudia discovers it, hoping the crimes of Lavender can now be widely known. In a twist of irony however, Lavender slips into a coma before the manuscript is released.
(B) The initial suspected murder of Mark Bannister and subsequent investigation leads to an array of crimes: murders, drug trafficking and while collar crime.
The numbers of clues in the text are numerous and are seen, and solved, with the investigator. The planted cards ‘TERMINAL ILLNESS’ and ‘THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF HARRY LAVENDER’ are two major clues in the text. The few red herrings that are present work to mislead the detective and the reader alike. Heroin, the drug connection is a false lead as it did not cause the death, though it is a clue of another kind: to the underworld connections involved in the crime.
Claudia is highly skilled at unraveling the puzzle as she collects information from suspects and witnesses, and deduces clues concerning the pacemaker and computer link-up. The investigation is conventional in that Claudia follows up leads, has brushes with danger and is warned off the case, continues heroically on, gets beaten up, but steadily gets closer to the truth.
The setting in Sydney is an essential part of the text; anchoring the plot and providing clues. Day puts great emphasis on the city, treating it as a character by using metaphors and...