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Mr. White's Confession: A Novel (1998)
by Robert Clark
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 031242812X, Paperback)In Robert Clark's second novel, Mr. White's Confession, two men grope through real and metaphysical mysteries in post-depression Minnesota. A pair of girls, taxi dancers at a local dance hall, have been murdered. It seems obvious to everyone involved that the killer is Herbert White, a quiet eccentric with a taste for glamour photography--particularly after portraits of the dead women are found in his apartment. Yet police Lieutenant Wesley Horner finds himself obsessed with the oddities of the case, starting with the fact that the suspect is afflicted with a faulty memory. Literally unable to recall anything but the distant past (and intermittent patches of the present), White cannot confess to the murders. Did he in fact commit the crime, or is he merely a convenient scapegoat? Agonizing over these questions, Horner also begins to ponder the role that memory plays in understanding the past--and the present.
Part of the narrative consists of Herbert White's journal, and this is the best part of Mr. White's Confession. Here Clark creates a voice that is both innocent and formal and, most of all, blind to its own desires. Recalling a visit by Ruby Fahey, one of the eventual victims, the photographer writes: "She went back to my bedroom to change, and I must say I felt a huge sort of breathlessness at the idea that she was in my room shedding and then donning her garments, rather as if some mystery of great enormity were taking place right here in my humble quarters!" Horner's half of the narrative, alas, is weighted down by tired lyricism, and populated by a hard-boiled cast straight out of Raymond Chandler. The result is a gripping mystery with an anticlimactic ending--less a philosophical resolution than the tail of a shaggy-dog story. --Emily Hall
(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 06 Jan 2013 23:16:31 -0500)
A psychological mystery centered on the murder of two showgirls in 1930s St. Paul, Minnesota. A man is arrested and everything points to his guilt, but Lieutenant Horner is convinced the man is innocent.
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