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THE MAN WHO TRIED TO GET AWAY Thread
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I wasn't clear. He meant he might add another book to the planned 5. After the Last Chrons. But considering that he writes his mysteries between other large projects, and considering how often he mentions his age (he has already far outlived the men in earlier generations of his family, he said), I wouldn't think he would want to stretch it out any longer than necessary.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, is book 5 due out anytime soon? I really liked book 4; so far, that's his best one of the series.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, I like book 4 best so far, too. But he said he won't think about writing anything else until he finishes the Chrons.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed the character development in book three. (Which is now available from Amazon in hardcover form, by the way). Wink Donaldson likes to have his characters grow through suffering. And Brew certainly suffers in this book -- both through the horrible pain of his gunshot wound, and through thinking that he is losing the woman that he thinks he loves. Ginny does her share of suffering too, of course...

Spoiler:
This book made me decide that something I had suspected in the first two books is true -- that at this point in time Brew and Ginny are trapped in a co-dependency rather than a true love-based relationship. That is not to say that they cannot recover what they once had with a lot of hard work -- but at the moment their being together is not a healthy thing for either one of them. They both need time and space to get their heads and hearts in better shape, and to recover from their various wounds, both physical and emotional.


Of the first three books, incidentally, this is the one closest to a "traditional" Agatha Cristy type of mystery. Rather than being set in Albuquerque (er...Puerta del Sol Wink ) it is set up in the mountains (probably the Rockies near Taos, would be my guess, though obviously Danlo would be able to make a much better guess). It is set in a beautiful mountain lodge built around a huge towering tree. (I would actually love to have a vacation in a place like that, though without the murders, of course Wink ). Ginny and Brew, needing to hide from El Senor's hitmen (a situation set up in book two) take on a job of providing secutiry for a mystery camp that is held in the Lodge. Brew was only gutshot a week ago and he is in so much pain and still so injured that the poor man can barely put on his own clothes... Sad There is huge snowstorm and the people at the Lodge are trapped there. And then people start being killed... Shocked Shocked Shocked

But the Lodge does sound lovely (other than all of the violent deaths, of course). Sounds like I would love it there. Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe the lodge exists. Danlo? Party time?

I've said this other places, but see that I haven't said it in this thread Shocked , I think THE MAN WHO TRIED TO GET AWAY has the best mystery plot of any of the four. Just when you think you've got it ... woops! it slides out from under your feet.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, he really threw a few surprises in there, didn't he??? Laughing Laughing Laughing

Spoiler:
I had figured out that was probably more than one killer -- but it freaked me out when he finally revealed how darned many there were! Surprised Shocked Surprised Shocked Surprised Shocked Surprised Shocked

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

**Closes eyes to avoid being spoiled** You may be talking about Chama, above Taos I will look into it...
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a long time since anyone posted on this thread!

For the last 3 days I've been reading the Man Who series, and just finished ...........Tried to get away. I'm about to download the last one.

I'm so glad I found out about these, they are wonderful. SRD has created yet another unforgettable character in Brew. Once again, a man who seems to do everything in an extreme way, just like TC is forced to do.

As I'm interested in names I actually looked "Axbrewder" up on Ancestry, but not one result! The name is completely made up. Of course it may be an European name anglicised to be more pronouncable/spellable in the States. That's not relevant to the books, of course, but it makes me wonder why SRD invented that particular surname for him.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His name always makes me think of "Axe" and "Brooder". So: a man of violence who worries about things.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, that makes sense. It interests me that SRD made up the name. Dickens and Trollope, for example, didn't. Most of Dickens' strange surnames can be found in the English census returns.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the previous book Partner, Brew had gotten gut-shot and soon after kills the shooter Muy Estobal by strangulation. But Estobal was one of the favored assassins of local crime lord el Senor, so Brew has had reasons to fear revenge while recuperating in the hospital.

Quote:
I needed to move. To escape from the hospital. Before el Senor sent Estobal's replacement after me.

So far I'd only been stuck here for forty-eight hours, and it was already driving me crackers. If they hadn't given me so many pills, I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night. I would've stayed awake the whole time, watching the door. Expecting to see some goon with at least an Uzi to come in and blow me away.

Ginny hadn't been much help. She kept telling me that there wasn't any danger, there was too much heat on el Senor, he couldn't afford to risk having me hit so soon. Which should've been true, I suppose. And I should've believed her. I'd believed her when she first said it.
Hadn't I?
But after that, unfortunately, I got a phone call.

It came during the day, when the hospital switchboard was on automatic, and the winter sunlight and the blue sky outside my window made everything I could see look safe. But I must not have been feeling particularly safe, because I believed my caller right away.

When the phone rang, I picked it up and said, "Huh," because that's easier than hello when your whole torso is strapped with bandages and you don't feel much like breathing deeply anyway.
A voice I almost knew said, "Get out of there. He wants you. You're a sitting duck."
Then the line went dead.

Cheered me right up, that did.


Ginny downplays Brew's fears at first, then shows up one day not long after Brew has these kinds of phone calls to tell him she's taken a job for them as private investigators to satisfy an insurance requirement for Buffy Altar's mystery camp at a snowy mountain lodge. Riding together in a van towards that lodge with Buffy, her husband Rock, married couples the Draytons (Queenie and Sam) and the Hardhouses (Joseph and Lara), Texas plutocrat Mile Houston and his girlfriend Maryanne Green, mystery collaborators Connie Babb and Mac Westward, high-strung Simon Abel and smoothly confident Catherine "Cat" Reverie, Brew and Ginny hear Buffy explain how the mystery camp will work.

Quote:
Queenie Drayton, and I introduced ourselves. Hoping it would do some good, I stressed Brew. Then Buffy Altar took over again.
"You're a wonderful group. I think this camp will be the best we've ever had."
The way she drove showed that she knew what she was doing, but I had to keep reminding myself. The tone of her enthusiasm didn't inspire confidence. I didn't trust people who had such a pleasant relationship with their own lives.
"You'll all know what we'll be doing, so I don't need to explain too many things. We'll be at Deerskin Lodge for a vacation. It's as simple as that. All we have to do is relax and enjoy ourselves--until the mystery starts.
"But there are a few points I want to emphasize." A few of which she was especially proud. "Four of the people in this van are professionals. Two of you are actors, and two of your are private investigators. For you, there's one absolute rule. You can't reveal who you really are. All the rest of us are counting on you to keep your real reasons for being here secret.
"With everyone's cooperation, we can make our mystery really unique. For instance, one of our actors is probably here to be the murderer--unless it's me or Rock--but that doesn't mean the other will be the victim. The victim could be any of you. But that doesn't mean you're out of the game. You'll be informed that you've been killed, and we do ask that you play along, but you'll be informed in a way that doesn't reveal who killed you. After that, you can continue to try to solve the crime yourself. The only restriction--since you're dead-- is that you won't be allowed to ask any questions. You'll only be able to listen and observe.
"Doing it this way has tremendous advantages. Because the victim doesn't have to be one of the actors, we can have more than one victim. We can have a whole series of murders. In fact, that's one of the ways the murderer can win. He can win, of course--or she---by not getting caught. Or he can win by killing us all.
"And since the victim doesn't have to be one of the actors, we can't guess the murder simply by knowing who the victim came with. That's partly why it's so important for the actors and the private investigators to keep their identities secrets.
"Now." Buffy's speech was like her driving--her enthusiasm concealed her expertise. "How will you be informed that you've been murdered We used to use notes, little pieces of paper that said something like, 'There's an adder in your bed. As soon as you pull back the covers, you're dead.' But that made life too easy for the murderer. He could leave his notes anywhere. There was too little connection to the crime. And the notes always gave you the chance to argue that you didn't pull back the covers of your bed, so you weren't dead.
"Instead we now use blue marbles. The murderer has a supply. If you find one in your purse or your pocket, you're dead. If you pull back the covers and see a blue marble in your bed, you aren't dead, but if you find the marble after you're in bed, you are. Of course, if you don't find the marble at all, the attempt on your life failed. To kill you the murderer has to put it where you'll be sure to find it."

At this point Joseph Hardhouse made a show of turning out his pickets.

"No," Mrs. Altar laughed. She'd seen him in the rear view mirror. "Nobody's been killed yet. Our murderer doesn't want to take the chance that we might stop and call the police. In fact, nobody will be killed for at least a day. That will give us all the time to become familiar with Deerskin Lodge, to get to know each other a bit--and give the murderer time to figure out the best way to start killing us."

My pain had one advantage. It gave me an excuse for the way I looked. My companions weren't likely to realize that most of what showed on my face was disgust. The idea that fourteen grown men and women would spend the next six days hunting for blue marbles should've been funny, but I was in no mood for it.

Luckily for me, the speech was almost over. "Oh, just one thing," Buffy said after pausing long enough to make me think she'd finished. "The weather forecast. You'll all be delighted to hear that we have a big winter storm coming in. We should get it sometime tomorrow or the next day. The mountains are supposed to get a fooot of snow. We'll be practically snowbound--I hope."

Oh, good. More ambience.


I didn't trust people who had such a pleasant relationship with their own lives. I found this amusing.
The lodge is serviced by administrator and handyman Art Reeson, housekeepers Ama and Truchi Carbone, and cook Faith Jerrick. Problems first arise in the lodge because guns are displayed in the den where anybody can get to them, with ammunition nearby. Ginny and Brew object to this and eventually get Reeson to hide the guns, but only after some of them have mysteriously disappeared. There is a seamy side to this particular camp, as some of the guests are interested in one-night-stands with some of the others. Brew gets to hear about some of this going on, whether he cares to or not.

Quote:
"Let me see if I understand," I said in my best Sardonic Uncle Axbrewder tone. "You didn't really come here for advice. You came because you want a clear field. You want me to promise you that I won't try to get into Lara's bed ahead of you."

Westward was an interesting fellow. I was morally certain, to use his term, that he was spitting mad. But he didn't glare at me, or raise his voice. He didn't even turn red. On the other hand, he did peel the wrapper off his cigar. Then he stuck the cigar in his teeth and lit it. Even though his hands shook.

"Mr. Axbrewder," he articulated, "what do you think the life of a 'famous author' is like? Autographings? Fans? Glamour and groupies? Nothing could be further from the truth.
"The average mystery novel sells less than five thousand copies. And less than forty thousand in paperback. If it's published in paperback. Nobody reads mystery novels. Even the people here who recognize the name 'Thornton Foal' don't actually read his books. I know that from listening to their conversations. Connie and I don't attend mystery camps because we like them. We attend because without the tax write-off we can't afford vacations. Neither of us owns a home. No bank will loan us money."

For a moment, he hung fire. Then he mustered his courage and got to the point.'"I don't get very many chances with women."
Which explained why he thought I would understand. And why he feared that I would get in his way.

His honesty deserved an honest response. Cutting right to the heart of the matter, I replied, "You say you want advice. Here it is. Watch your back."
"Thanks," he snorted bitterly. Puffing a cloud of smoke in my direction, he stood up and stomped out.
Damn cigar. The room smelled full of smoke and loneliness. But that didn't stop me from lying back down in bed and pulling the covers up to my ears.


Ginny and Brew seem to be personally drifting apart, and it proves to be a hurtful distraction for Brew, who still has feelings for Ginny. Ginny notices Brew seems to be withdrawing, and tells him to get into the spirit of things and mingle more. But when Brew follows this advice after catching Cat Reverie's eye and following her into a parlor where she seeks to flatter him as a man, a bullet hole appears in a nearby window and Brew turns to find Cat down on the carpet, dead from a head wound. Somebody is determined to do real killing, not just leave blue marbles around! When Ginny leaves the lodge to follow the trail of the potential killer, Brew stays around the lodge to watch over the remaining guests and to calm them and let them talk to him. More than once, he hears personal details he'd rather not, but his training as a P.I. forces him to listen carefully, all the same, such as in this exchange with Maryanne.

Quote:
"Houston didn't want sleep," she answered. "He's scared, I guess. When he's scared, he does things to me. It reassures him. Maybe he isn't on top of the world. Maybe he can't do everything he wants. But at least he can do what he wants to me.

"But I'm scared, too. He doesn't understand that. Ginny scared me. If she had just let me think Simon did it, I might have been able to stand it. I might have been brave enough. But now I'm scared. I've never been so scared. And what he does hurts. It hurts a lot. Sometimes I think it's going to be more than I can bear."

Her voice trailed away, dying like the coals in the fire.

I could guess what happened. "So you told him no."
She nodded dumbly.

"And he threw you out."

She nodded again. "He says he won't even pay my way home." Then, before I could come up with a reply, she added, "I could kill Ginny for this."
She sounded perfectly sincere.

Suddenly my balance failed. Like Faith, Maryanne touched something in me that I didn't understand and couldn't use, a mad blank anger. "Oh, come on," I rasped. "What do you want her to do? Ignore the chance that Simon is innocent? If he didn't kill Cat, someone else did. And if it's someone else, we don't know what his motive is." Or hers. "Which means we can't predict what'll happen next. Maybe we'll all get shot at. Ginny is just doing her job."

Maryanne didn't try to answer me directly. I'd missed the point. She had a completely different grievance. Glaring at me like I'd just crawled out from under a rock, she countered, "But she isn't much of a woman, is she."

Oh, boy.

"I don't know what you see in her. Or Joseph sees. It isn't fair. She wants to be a man. She throws her weight around and tells everyone what to do and swears like a man. She humiliates you. And you lap it up. You ought to hate her, but instead you follow her around like a puppy. She's castrated you, and you think you like it. And Joseph can't wait to get his hands on her. He ought to know better--a man like that. He ought to know better.
"Do you know where they are right now?"

No, don't tell me that. Do not tell me that. More than anything else, I didn't want to know where Ginny and Hardhouse were right now. Otherwise I would burst with fever and fury.
"It's none of my business," I said as quickly as I could, trying to stop her.
I didn't stop her. But at least I deflected her.

"Cat was someone I could understand," she went on. "I can't figure out why you didn't like her She wanted you to be male. She wanted to revel in your maleness. That made her a woman, a real woman. And Lara's a real woman, in her own way. I don't know how she manages to see anything male about Mac, but at least she wants Joseph to be himself. She likes him the way he is."

As an interpretation of Lara, this stunned me. But I didn't interrrupt.

"Even Queenie is a woman." Maryanne concentrated on the coals as if she thought that she could make them blaze by scowling at them. "She has too many opinions, and she wants everyone to take them seriously. But she doesn't get in Sam's way. She knows he's a man. She wants him to be a man.
"Not Ginny." Maryanne actually shuddered, a hard quiver of revulsion. "She doesn't want you to be a man. If you tried, she'd try to prevent you. She wants to make us all afraid.
"Why does she do it? What does she get out of it?"

"I have a better question." I was full of panic, terrified of my own emotions, and I couldn't afford to think about Ginny. "Why do you do it?"
Poor woman, she knew exactly what I meant. I'd asked her real question for her, the question that made everything else hurt. She turned a gaze like hate at me, and her bitterness came up from the bottom of her heart.

"What makes you think I have a choice?"
I spread my hands helplessly.


At first it seems like the killer is only after Brew, but things get more complicated as Mac Westward is also found dead of strangulation. Brew is confounded by this, but still has to let confidence show to keep people from panicking further. Nothing seems to work with Houston Mile, who demands access to guns and gets so out of hand that he has to be tied up. The strain of trying to control events in this increasingly chaotic mystery camp wears on Brew, and it doesn't help that he's jealous of Ginny having an affair with Joseph Hardhouse.

Quote:
"What're we going to do?" Lara repeated.

"Survive." My voice shook. Hell, my entire body shook. "Which means that we're going to stay together. The whole group, everyone, in the same room. That way, whoever did this [strangled Mac] can't kill anyone else."

"Right!" Sam snapped. Somehow I'd said what he needed to hear. "I'll get them into the den. We can talk there."

He hurried out the door.

"Brew"--Queenie left Connie, came over to me--"is that safe? Should I go after him?"

Everything had happened too quickly. I couldn't think fast enough. She was right, I shouldn't have let Sam go alone. He might be the killer himself. Or the next victim. I should've sent Queenie and even Lara with him. But he's left before I could get my brain in gear and my mouth open.

"No." I refused to risk Queenie, too. "He'll be all right. It's too soon for another murder." To keep her from arguing, I said, "Take Connie to the den. Stay with her. I'll be along in a minute."

Like her husband, she needed to move, to do something. She turned back to Connie.
Connie didn't budge. Rigid with strain and fury, she demanded, "Mr. Axbrewder, how are you going to catch Mac's killer?"

I wanted to yell at her, I don't know! Catching killers is Ginny's job! Don't you understand? I'm just the hired help! But that didn't seem particularly useful, so I swallowed it. Instead I faced her straight.

"I'll start by questioning you." Pay attention. This is a threat. "As far as I can tell, only two people here have a reason to want him dead, and you're one of them."

Queenie raised her hand to her mouth in shock, but she didn't interrupt. Lara studied me intensely, as if every nerve in her body were on fire.

Connie didn't flinch. She didn't even protest. But her face twisted and went pale, like I'd punched her in the stomach.

Well, I knew how that felt, but I didn't apologize. None of this made sense. That was Smithsonian's voice on the phone, I was sure now, and the shot that killed Cat could've been aimed at me, and someone had definitely tried to suffocate me with rat poison. No one except el Senor actively wanted me dead. But in that case Mac should still be alive. Mainly so that I wouldn't start to whimper in frustration, I ordered Queenie and Lara to get Connie out of the room.


Art Reeson has gone for help after Cat had been shot, and goes on foot because he says someone has removed all the rotors from the distributors in the vehicles. When he comes back a couple of days later, he's greeted by people desperately needing reassurance that help is coming.

Quote:
His smile had a faintly maniacal twist, but his voice remained steady. "If you I'd come back without doing what I said I would, you don't know me very well. Ordinarily, I'd take offense. But I can see you haven't been having an easy time.

"Yes, I got through. There's a cabin five miles from here. Some city guy--an artist, I think--uses it in the summer." He shrugged. "I broke in to check the phone. It worked. The sheriff is on his way. He'll be here as soon as a plow opens the road."

Buffy gasped a sob of relief. Maryanne sat down suddenly, as if the strings of fear which kept her on her feet had been cut. Staring like he couldn't believe his ears, Mile stopped trying to work the gag loose.
"Thank God," Connie said succinctly.

"There's a lot of road to clear," Reeson warned. "Help won't arrive until sometime tomorrow."

We were still in trouble.

Apparently, Hardhouse didn't realize that. Hurrying for some other reason, he took Lara by the arm and drew her away from the door. "We'll go tell Rock and Queenie the good news." Without any sign of protest from his wife, he swept her out of the den.

"Are they--?" Sam had to struggle to clear his throat. "Are they bringing an ambulance? Paramedics? I need more IV Valium. She's still in a coma."

Reeson started to ask a question, but he thought better of it when he looked at Sam. "An ambulance, yes," he answered, "for the woman who got shot. Catherine Reverie. I don't know about paramedics."

Then he added, "The sheriff has a radio. So do the plows. When they arrive, the road will be open. They can get what you need up here in an hour."

Faith gripped his arm so tightly that the cords in the backs of her hands showed. She seemed to consider him a better anchor than her religion.

"I need them today." Sam didn't look at any of us. "By tomorrow she might be dead." he demanded.

That was too much for Reeson. "Who?" he demanded. "What's happened? I can't do anything about it if you don't tell me what's going on."

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Mile's gag drop free.

"God, Reeson!" he spat at once, "you took your sweet time gettin' here. We got us a killer on the loose. Broke Westward's neck, ditched Abel somewhere, took a shot at Fistoulari, poisoned Drayton's wife. And these sons a bitches wont' let me defend mahself. Get these ropes off me! Tomorrow ain't near fast enough. We need guns. Before he tries again."

Reflexively we all watched Reeson. He had that kind of effect on people--he made us want to see what he would do.

He was surprised, I'll give him that. He couldn't have known what had happened to us, and he showed it. At least we got his frown back, which relieved my sense that he was about to explode. His eyebrows did a quirky little dance, up and down, up and down. "My, my." His voice sounded like someone had tried to strangle him a while back, and he hadn't fully recovered.
We do live in interesting times, don't we?
"And you don't have any idea who did all this?"

For some reason, Mile let the question pass. In unison, Buffy and Maryanne shook their heads. But Ginny's face was blank, studiously blank, like a mask--and I kept my thoughts to myself.

"Offhand," Reeson commented to me, "I'd say the ghouls and beasties are coming out of the woodwork." Like an acknowledgement of Buffy's distress and Sam's shock, he added, "With a vengeance."

Vengeance. Another unexpected hint. Not that Reeson meant to hint at anything, of course. He was just talking. Nevertheless a little shiver of recognition ran through my brain.

As far as I know, no one here had anything to do with vengeance. Except me.

El Senor's revenge.



The description of how Art's eyebrows dance as he's thinking is kind of funny to me. Anyway, as Dragonlily and Ducchess have noted above, this is more of a classic mystery that keeps you guessing, rather than primarily a character study as was the case with the previous books Brother and Partner. Yet I liked those books a bit better than this one, though I'm hard-pressed to explain why. I guess it's because I don't like the ambience of being stuck in a cold and snowy place, surrounded by drama, so don't care as much for reading about it. Cruising through the streets of Puerta del Sol looking for clues was more fun. But SRD did well with the characterization here, and it was gratifying to see Brew work on letting go, bit by bit, of his co-dependency on Ginny.

Concerning the name, "Axbrewder": I am grateful to Iolanthe for checking out the name and reporting that it's entirely fictitious. Wayfriend's explanation for the name's meaning is entirely plausible, but I have thought it means he's "cut himself off from having more brews and other booze" because he's a reformed alcoholic, now.
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