Archive for November 2, 2011

With the ongoing court case over changes in public sector pensions I could not help laughing out loud at a passage in The Cleansing Flames by R.N.Morris. Once again crime fiction is at the cutting edge in both social commentary and finding solutions to problems. I would mention that the contrasting magistrates Porfiry and Virginsky in the St Petersburg mystery series remind me of Morse and Lewis, and Dalziel and Pascoe. There can’t be much higher praise.  

‘Are you the owner of the house?’ demanded Salytov sceptically. ‘I am.’ ‘The retired Arab?’ ‘That is correct.’ 

‘You do not look like an Arab. Your skin is whiter than mine.’ ‘I am not an Arab by race. But I am one officially, you see.’

‘No, I do not see. Some kind of fraud has been perpetrated here, I’ll warrant.’

‘No fraud. My transformation to Arabhood was sanctioned by the authorities. I went through the proper channels. It was my wife’s idea. She heard that Arabs retired from the service with twice the pension of ordinary Russians. “Ask them if you can retire as an Arab,” she said. And so I did. I put forward a petition, stating my reasons-‘

‘Reasons? What reasons could you possibly have?’

‘Well my main reason was that I could do with the extra money.’