Book Report: Ring of Truth by Nancy Pickard (2001)

I inherited this book from my aunt, which explains why I’ve read a chickthrilla. That in itself lends itself to some interesting contrasts with the crime fiction I tend to read, where every protagonist has a shot in an equal fight with amateur bad guys. Here, the protagonist is a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter than commone adversaries. Weird.

This book revolves around a true crime writer who has put to bed a book on a south Florida crime of passion. A minister who has argued against the death penalty has been convicted of killing his wife to cover up an affair or to be with his lover. Coincidentally, he’s now on death row in the next cell from the inmate whose cause the minister championed. But as she sends the book off, the narrator has some niggling doubts about the crimes, and she investigates a little more.

The book intersperses chapters of the fictional true crime book with current thoughts of the true crime author/sleuth, Marie Lightfoot. It struck me as odd that the chapters of the book are all in third person past tense, but the current investigations are in the first person present. I mean, that’s just weird. I’m sure the author (Pickard, the real author) used the conceit to differentiate the fictional book from the real fictional book, er, story. It’s more jarring than it needs to be, though, and I could have done without it.

Overall, it’s a serviceable book with an interesting plot but with an ending and whodunit resolution that seems sudden, but part of that’s the function of the first part of the book including a higher portion of fictional chapters from the true crime book, which presents the story as it’s thought to be, and the last part of the book includes a higher portion of contemporary investigation of the fictional author. I don’t regret reading it, unlike some books with which I have burdened myself of late, but I won’t actively seek out other works in Pickard’s Marie Lightfoot or Jenny McCain series on the basis of this exposure.