“Get the heroine kidnapped again.”
A kidnapping event can take any number of different directions, so it’s no wonder that there’s so much abduction in crime fiction.
In Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Priory School, ten-year-old Lord Saltire, son of the Earl of Holdernesse, is kidnapped. Thornycroft Huxtable, founder and principal of the exclusive
In Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit, we meet Anne Beddingfield, a young woman who’s left an orphan after the death of her father. At first, Anne accepts an invitation from her father’s solicitor to stay with his family in
The same is true in Christie’s Cat Among the Pigeons. In that novel, exclusive
In Robert Crais’ The Last Detective, Elvis Cole, one of Crais’ sleuths, agrees to do a favor for his girlfriend, television personality Lucy Chernier. She’s going to be out of town for the week-end, and Cole agrees to look after her ten-year-old son, Ben. Just before Lucy is scheduled to return, Cole discovers that Ben is missing. He searches desperately for the boy, but can’t find him. Then, he gets a call from Ben’s kidnappers. Matters are made worse when Lucy’s wealthy ex-husband Richard arrives on the scene. He isn’t fond of Cole to begin with, and he blames Cole for lax supervision so that the kidnappers could get to Ben. Cole has to look into his own past in
Cole’s not the only fictional sleuth who has to deal with a kidnapping very close to home. In Ruth Rendell’s Road Rage, Inspector Reg Wexford has to deal with a hostage situation when a new road is planned for Kingsmarkham. Several groups have come to the area to protest the construction, and things turn ugly when the protestors take hostages. One of the hostages is Wexford’s wife, Dora, who’s on a local committee that’s protesting the project. Now, Wexford and his team work frantically to save the hostages; when a death occurs, they also find themselves investigating a killing.
In Michael Connelly’s 9 Dragons, L.A.P.D. detective Harry Bosch gets involved in an investigation of tongs, Chinese Mafia gangs, when a Chinese liquor store owner is shot. Bosch finds out that the victim was paying extortion money to a local gang, and goes after the group that he thinks is responsible for the murder. Then, he gets word that his daughter, Maddie, who lives in
Laura Lippman’s What the Dead Know focuses on an abduction from the past.
We see the kidnapper’s perspective on abduction in Tim Baker’s Living the Dream. That’s the story of Kurt, a loser who traces his bad luck to a rock concert he attended years earlier, when he met Vicky. He tried to get Vicky to spend the night with him that night, but she refused. Vicky’s refusal and Kurt’s reaction to it led to a series of misunderstandings that resulted in Kurt’s being tried for and convicted of rape. After being released from prison, Kurt’s life has gone steadily downhill. Then, he finds out that Vicky’s married to a wealthy man, so he decides to kidnap her. He feels that the least she owes him is a great deal of money. When Kurt gets to
There are many, many more crime novels with a kidnapping theme than I’ve had space to mention here. Which ones have you enjoyed?