Anne M Carson – From The Detective’s Chair

Profile Anne Carson LE Poetry & Writing July 2018

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From The Detective’s Chair, a sequence of poems about fictional detectives by Anne M Carson

Anne M Carson is a writer and visual artist, whose poetry is published internationally and widely in Australia. Writing on the Wall was published by Mark Time Books 2017. She has won and been commended in numerous poetry prizes including being shortlisted in the New Shoots Poetry Prize 2016 and commended in the 2015 Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize. As a Creative Writing Therapist she has edited and facilitated the group process which resulted in the publication of three books. She teaches Poetry Writing and Appreciation to adults and serves as Director Arts on the board of Ondru – a social-change-through-the-creative-arts organisation. Currently she is looking for a publisher for the story in verse of a little-known, Second World War humanitarian. The manuscript is called Massaging Himmler: A poetic biography of Dr Felix Kersten.

(6) Anna Southwood, Licenced Private Enquiry Agent
Southward and Connelly Detective Agency, Sydney Australia

Anna turns to detecting after her shady, bastard husband dies. A baby
sleuth, with enough Agatha Christie to know that trusting her guts is a
real detective’s best weapon; she is determined to learn the knack. Why
was the deaf woman left bashed and bloody, close to death? She goes
over her notes again and again, combing, looking for discrepancies,
unusual occurrences, waiting for the tell-tale niggle that will alert her;
there somewhere, buried beneath. Filled with broken images of death
and betrayal, she’s worried sordidness will become a way of life. It makes
her antsy; she can’t help needling the pompous or asking questions
where she shouldn’t. She loses patience with prevarication. Shopping
forgotten again, it’s a stale cheese sandwich with wilted lettuce for
dinner. Her chair, her refuge, is the couch – an open bottle of Riesling
before her, a second idling in the fridge.

(20) Detective Inspector (DI) Thomas (Tommy) Lynley
Eighth Earl of Asherton
Metropolitan Police (New Scotland Yard), London UK

From constable to sergeant to Detective Inspector in his first five years,
Thomas relishes police-work’s rigour; its freedom after the
claustrophobia of wealth, and the must of old boys’ clubs. Hodge, the
family butler, refuses to take it seriously, calls it Lord Thomas’s whimsy.
But Thomas has built a reputation as a passionate professional. Except
this time – driven by romantic jealousy, he targets a suspect, completely
loses objectivity. He comes through in the end but has it cost him a dear
friend? Painful, necessary corrective for a lifetime of privilege. He does
his thinking behind the Bentley wheel, ensconced in leather-upholstered
luxury, listening to Beethoven’s Pathétique. Its map of suffering helps
him process the horror of the evil he has seen. Monumental outrage at
wasted life; he says that every death diminishes him. Finally, on the right
track, he registers the familiar tell-tale tingle of the chase.

(21) Detective Sergeant (DS) Barbara Havers
Metropolitan Police (New Scotland Yard), London UK

Barbara has the makings of a good cop – fine probing mind, quicksilver
intuitive leaps of understanding – but despair has been driven so deep
inside her she is as brittle as glass. Something in her past so painful it
must be buried, thorn-like, beneath scorn and a good dose of venom. She
bristles at the slightest, spoils for fights, always thinks the worst. Forced
back into uniform by spats with everyone of rank. Worse than prickles are
the talons of self-hatred. She is close to wrecking her last chance to return
to CID, when Lynley breaks the case open like a piece of rotting fruit, the
innards spilt for all to see, spoilt, putrefying. It draws the poison out of
Barbara’s past, alchemically, and she vomits and vomits, purges herself.
Not that she is totally reformed – she retains her hatred of class, of
privilege and disdain gentry’s hauteur. Her chair is close to an ashtray so
she can inhale illicit courage along with her nicotine.

© Anne M Carson