Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an overflowing stream - Meyer

My favorite author is Patricia Wentworth. She wrote her first book almost a century ago. Her genre was classic mystery similar in some ways to Agatha Christie (minus the formula plotting and cardboard cut-out characters). Patricia Wentworth knew how to write but more than that, she had a keen sense of justice. Although she would be considered by most to be a secular author, her main character, Miss Silver, went to church, read her Bible and spoke often of the intervention of “Providence.” By Mark Twain’s definition, the denouement is the “marryin’ and buryin’.” After finishing a Patricia Wentworth mystery, the reader is left with a satisfied feeling. The hero/heroine prevails (against all odds). The criminal is brought to justice. There is a happy ending.

Recent news here in Winnipeg was the conviction of a pedophile who had victimized two young boys. For his various crimes, Peter Whitmore was given concurrent sentences of life, 14 years, life, 14 years, two years, five years, two years, 10 years, five years, five years, 10 years, and 10 years. The lawyer for the crown said, “It ends here. It ends now with life in prison.” Having this guy locked away for a good long time is justice. It is a good resolution to this story.

That same week, just two hours away in Kenora, Ontario, an Anglican minister was sentenced three years for sexually abusing 3 young boys. Just 3 years; nothing else. He had been previously convicted of abusing 16 young boys and served four and a half years for those crimes. At that trail, he had pleaded guilty to 20 other counts – one count for each of 20 victims – but was not given additional time for those incidents. The sentence given to this pedophile is not justice. And knowing that it has taken upwards of 30 years for these crimes to be brought to trial, makes it all the more unjust. The devastating effects of child sexual abuse on families and on communities are very well documented.

In my upcoming book, Deep Waters, there is a clear sense of justice. Good triumphs over evil. The denouement is in classic “marryin’ and buryin’” style. Some might consider this too simplistic – perhaps na├»ve.

It has become fashionable in some circles to have evil triumph over good – this is considered good “literary” fiction – and a more “realistic” reflection of life. Those of you who have read my books know that I don’t shy away from difficult topics. Actually, the comment that I most often get is that my books are “real.” But they all have what would be deemed a “happy ending.” Maybe it’s because I’m a follower of Jesus. I know that, eventually, good will win out over evil. There will, in the end, be justice.

Maybe it’s because what I want most is to leave my readers with hope. All of us can have hope in this life, and the next, because of God’s extravagant love for us demonstrated through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

1 comment:

N. J. Lindquist said...

I have to disagree with you re Christie's plotting and characters, but I do like Maud Silver, though I found her a bit harder to relate to than Miss Marple - maybe because she was before her time; maybe because she was always quoting Wordsworth, who is not one of my favorite poets. :) I guess she's more closely related to Sayer's Miss Climpson.

But I too like books that have happy endings - provided they aren't too big a stretch. I know that life doesn't always end happily, but that doesn't mean the books I read for entertainment can't. :)

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