Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Character Flaw" by Christine Matthews

From: The Shamus Game ed. Robert J. Randisi. Signet, 2000.

Gun in hand, Skye Cahill shows up at the door of Nebraska P.I. Roberta "Robbie" Stanton claiming to have shot a man dead. Shortly before her arrest, she hires Robbie to determine whether she shot the right man. Armed with a taped third-person account of Skye's actions made by Skye herself, Robbie learns she had been pursuing Edward Blevins, whom she believed to be her biological father.

According to the tape, Blevins got ornery with Skye and dared her to shoot him. Skye's story is cast in doubt, though, when Robbie learns she's been in psychiatric treatment. Indeed it seems Skye chose to hire Robbie because of Stanton's own time in a mental institution.

It was a challenge following Skye's third-person story-within-a-story, but I appreciated how deeply Robbie empathized with Skye, feeling protective of her when other characters dismissed her as "crazy."

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