THE SINS OF THE FATHER
Eve Dallas has just come off the case concluded in Betrayal in Death, and she and Roarke are spending a week off-planet at Roarke’s Olympus resort. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a vacation. An interplanetary police conference is being held at the resort and the NYPSD has required Eve, Peabody, Feeney, Mira and Morris to attend. To further complicate matters, Eve has been tasked with giving a seminar during the conference. Put the social interaction required by a conference together with the teaching situation and add in the space travel required to get to the resort and Eve is at the point of “Just kill me now!”
Only minutes after arriving at the opening reception, the chief aide for retired Commander Douglas Skinner approaches Eve and tells her that Skinner wants to see her at his table. Skinner is an icon of the policing community and the Urban Wars, considered both a hero and a legend, and has great influence in the policing community. With little social foreplay, Skinner regales Eve with his ultra-conservative views on a woman’s place in society. Then he states that he will graciously overlook her sins in that area and arrange for her Captain’s bars if she will set Roarke up to be prosecuted for actions in his past.
If you have followed the series with any regularity, you know exactly how Robb writes Eve’s response, particularly when Skinner threatens to destroy her career if she does not comply. When one of Skinner’s bodyguards tries to force Eve to sit back down, she then, in front of hundreds of law enforcement personnel, levels both the guard and his partner with one blow apiece – and walks away.
Several hours later, the bodyguard is found viciously murdered in a stairwell. Eve and Roarke are quickly cleared of suspicion by the local police, and Eve assumes the role of associate investigator along with the local chief. However, Skinner, during his keynote address to the thousands attending the conference, accuses both Eve and Roarke of conspiracy and murder anyway.
Eve’s investigation gets to the heart of the matter quickly. Skinner’s crusade is based on a decades-old sting that he commanded, a sting that cost the lives of 13 police officers when Skinner’s informant betrayed them. That informant was Roarke’s father. Since Patrick Roarke is long dead, Skinner is convinced the case will not be closed – and justice served – until the son pays for the sins of his father.
Before Robb is finished with this novella, we will laugh out loud at the verbal interchanges that Eve has with both Roarke and Peabody. We will continue to see the emotional and professional growth of both Eve and Roarke that was so evident in the last novel. And we will watch Eve follow the evidence systematically, fact by fact, to an explosive conclusion.
But in the end, this novella will fulfill a role that a full-length novel cannot accomplish well – it will become a morality tale. Before the novella is complete, Robb will march five fathers and five children across the pages. She will portray the devastating effects that the long-ago sins of those fathers have brought down upon those children so many years later.
Then she will, through Eve, Roarke and the murderer, drive home the theme: Although a father may give life to the child and the sins of the father may be visited upon the child, those sins do not make the child what he or she is. That decision is completely up to the child.
Cover Art from Goodreads