Children in the Morning : A Mystery

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-10-01
  • Publisher: Ecw Press
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When Beau Delaney, the Halifax hotshot whose exploits are the subject of a new Hollywood film, is charged with the murder of his wife Peggy, it's lawyer and bluesman Monty Collins who takes the case. But when Beau's family dynamics and the appearance of a mysterious child alert Monty that his client is keeping secrets, others join in to help keep Beau from a life in prison. Monty's pal, Father Brennan Burke, has a hand in the investigation, as does Monty's estranged wife, Maura. Watching all this is Normie, Monty and Maura's daughter, who has the gift of second sight. When she starts having visions that involve Beau, she can't tell whether they reflect something he's done in the past--or something he might do in the future. It then becomes clear that Normie and Monty must rely on each other to discover the truth about Peggy's death.

Author Biography

Anne Emery is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School who has worked as a lawyer, a legal affairs reporter, and a researcher. She is the author of Barrington Street Blues, Cecilian Vespers, Obit, and Sign of the Cross, winner of the 2006 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.



You should know right from the beginning that I am not bragging. I was brought up better than that, even though I am the child of a broken home. That’s another thing you should know. but — and it’s a big but — (I’m allowed to say “big but” like this but not “big butt” in a mean voice when it might be heard by a person with a big butt, and hurt their feelings) — but, about my broken home, Mummy says people don’t say that anymore. Anyway, even if they do, it doesn’t bother me. It kinda bothers my brother Tommy Douglas even though he’s a boy, and a lot of times boys pretend they’re tough. Tommy never says, but I know. We have another brother, Dominic, but he’s a little baby so he’s too young to know anything. However, the whole thing is not that bad. That’s probably because we don’t have the kind of dad who took off and didn’t care and didn’t pay us any alimony. When you’ve been around school as long as I have — I’m in grade four — you know kids who have fathers like that. But not my dad. We spend a lot of days with him, not just with my mum. And they both love us. They are in their forties but are both still spry and sharp as a tack. It’s stupid the way they don’t just move back into the same house together but, aside from that, they are great people and I love them very much.

Mum is Maura MacNeil. People say she has a tongue on her that could skin a cat. She is always very good to me and never skins me. But if I do something bad, she doesn’t have to stop and think about what to say; she has words ready to go. She teaches at the law school here in Halifax. My dad is Monty Collins. He is really sweet and he has a blues band. I always ask him to sing and play the song “Stray Cat Strut” and he always does. It’s my favourite song; I get to do the “meow.” He is also a lawyer and he makes faces about his clients. They’re bad but he has to pretend they’re good when he’s in front of the judge so the judge won’t send them down the river and throw away the key. Or the paddle, or whatever it is. It means jail.

I forgot to tell you my name. It’s Normie.What?I can hear you saying. It’s really Norma but you won’t see that word again in these pages. Well, except once more, right here, because I have to explain that it comes from an opera calledNorma. Mum and Dad are opera fans and they named me after this one, then realized far too late that it was an old lady’s name (even though the N–person in the opera was not old, but never mind). So they started calling me Normie instead.

I am really good in math and English, and I know so many words that my teacher has got me working with thegrade sevenbook calledWords Are Important, which was published way back in 1955 when everybody learned harder words in school than they do these days. And I have musical talent but do not apply myself, according to my music teacher. I am really bad at social studies but that’s because I don’t care about the tundra up north, or the Family Compact, whoever they are. But it was interesting to hear that we burned down the White House when we had a war with the Americans back in 1812. Tommy says we kicked their butts (he said it, not me). You never think of Canadians acting like that.

Anyway, I must get on with my story. As I said, I’m not bragging and I don’t mean about the math and English. I mean I’m not bragging about what I can see and other people can’t. Because it’s a gift and I did nothing to earn it. And also because it’s all there for other people to see, but they are just not awake (yet) to these “experiences” 2 or “visions.” I’m not sure what to call them. They say about me: “She has the sight.” Or: “She has second sight, just like old Morag.” Old Morag is my great–grandmother. Mum’s mother’s mother. She’s from Scotland. And she is really old; it’s not just people calling her that. She must be eighty–five or something. But there are no flies on her, everyone says. People find her spooky, but I understand her.

I am looking at my diary, which saysPersonal and Private!on the cover. I hide it in a box under my bed. Nobody crawls under there to spy on my stuff. The diary is where I kept all my notes, day after day, about this story. I am taking the most important parts of it and writing them down on wide–ruled paper, using a Dixon Ticonderoga 2/hb pencil, a dictionary, and a thesaurus. I am asking Mummy about ways to say (write) certain things, but I’m not telling her what I am writing. All the information you will read here is my own.

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