Noose by Bill James revives events of the past to affect events in the present. As a boy Ian witnessed a murder in an air raid shelter during a German bombing during WWII. He was deemed a hero in the papers, the same papers that deemed his dad a hero when he saved a drowning woman. Dad is not pleased with his son’s notoriety. Before the trail, during the trial, and after the hanging, Ian continually gets postcards condemning his action. Today, as a reporter himself, Ian, goes to a hospital to interview a starlet who may or may not have attempted suicide and who may or may not be his sister. During the visit, a nun berates Ian for his previous actions, which may be the witnessing of a murder. We discover the murderer was on his way to see a woman when he discovered his brother, who stole all the inheritance money from the mother. A classic Cain and Abel story. Ian was in the middle of it and his father was upset about this. The dad is a classic bury your head I the sand kind of guy and don’t get involved, yet he did and became a hero.
Ian seems to get his neck into a noose often as he is approached to do secret agent like work. His obligation comes from past heroic events, both his father’s and his own. Then serendipitously, he steps into it at officer’s training camp and then later as a journalist. Was he a journalist because of his own childhood headlines? Secret meetings, chance (NOT) meetings, and probing phone calls have Ian turning to his wife, Lucy for conversation and a level head. This is wise, two heads is always better than one and safer too. Ian does “their” bidding while maintaining a good and healthy distance while still protecting family.
This is a grand tale, well told, and filled with just the right amounted of tension.