The Blank Wall
By Elisabeth Sanxay Holding
“Lucia Holley wrote every night to her husband, who was somewhere in the Pacific. They were very dull letters, as she knew; they gave Commander Holley a picture of a life placid and sunny as a little mountain lake.”
Of course life is anything but pleasant and sunny for Lucia because she’s recently found out that her daughter is seeing Ted Darby, a man who is much older than Bee and who’s been described as a sinister-looking character. Lucia is not about to let Bee get mixed up with the likes of Ted and she forbids Bee to see him. But even before things can get more out of control with the relationship, Ted is found dead.
Lucia believes that her father may have accidentally killed Ted so she hides away the body setting off a chain of events that will have her constantly trying to stay one step ahead. Unsavory characters come looking for her to blackmail her and her family. Lucia rather than explaining to the authorities or her family what’s happened tries to shield her family. It’s interesting to note that the one person Lucia finds herself confiding in to some extent is her maid, Sybil, the one woman who she’s known for so long and yet really knows nothing about.
This wonderful story of suspense hinges on whether Lucia will be able to keep her family safe and out of scandal, on her own of course. What I found interesting was that not only is the murder of Ted a major point but more so how Lucia’s life starts to unravel.
Her children make demands of her, her father, the blackmailers, etc., it’s easy to see how that could drive anyone insane. I think in the end Lucia is not just questioning the motives behind Ted Darby and the other men but more her life and her purpose. A wonderful story.
*If you noticed the image I used, it’s actually from the movie, The Reckless Moment, which was filmed in 1949 based on The Blank Wall.