Forty Words For Sorrow Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Forty Words For Sorrow

Putnam, Jun 2001, 24.95, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0399147527

    Near Algonquin Bay, Canada, Katie Pine and Todd Curry vanish into thin air at different times. Detective John Cardinal felt that the same person killed both missing people. His efforts to persuade his superior that a killer is on the loose fail. Frustrated with John's insistence that the teens are not runaways but victims, the brass transfers him to burglary until someone finds the remains of Pine.
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    Returned to homicide, John partners with Lise Delorme, formerly of Special Investigations. John is aware that Lise is investigating him due to the extraordinary sum of money he is spending on his home and his daughter's education at Yale. Neither speaks of the side investigation, preferring to concentrate on the murders. When a third youth disappears, both cops conclude a serial killer is the culprit, but the clues lead nowhere.

    FORTY WORDS FOR SORROW is a fascinating character study that drives the investigation. Giles Blunt concentrates on his cast and their interactions especially John and Lise. Through the looking glass of the lead officers, readers observe the action in a more cerebral manner than usual. Thus, this work turns into a refreshing Canadian police procedural with a radically different approach to the entertaining story line.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Forty Words For Sorrow

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Plot & Themes

How difficult to spot villain?    -   Story partially from villain's perspective Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   evil subgroup in own govt Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Who's the criminal enemy here?    -   finding a known killer

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman


The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   very gorey references to torture Unusual forms of death    -   poisoning    -   frozen    -   decapitated    -   blunt clubbing (like seals) Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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