Megan Scott, the main character in False Impressions, feels the heat in more ways than one when she becomes the prime suspect in her husband’s murder. As Detective Moreau mounts surprising evidence against her and her partner, crime reporter Michael Elliott, she dreads the outcome of a police investigation that has already turned her world upside down.
In the story, the hot and humid summer in Montreal offers a backdrop that reflects Megan’s fears and anxieties. I’ve included excerpts below that show how the setting plays to her apprehensions.
This first excerpt takes place after Megan and Michael meet with their lawyer to discuss the case but fail at validating their alibis:
Outside the Regency, a blazing sun had pierced through the clouds and chased away the cool summer morning. I kept thinking how the weather was so volatile these days—just like my life since Tom’s death. With my freedom at stake, I expected more of the same and wondered if things would ever return to normal.
In this next passage, Megan travels to meet Michael at Santino’s restaurant:
The outdoor air hung heavy with humidity. Before I’d walked the three blocks to the underground subway station, my T-shirt had absorbed the dampness and was beginning to cling to my skin. I welcomed the coolness of Le Metro, but it was too short a train ride downtown to the McGill station for a complete cooling down period.
A gust of hot air greeted me as I resurfaced at the street level. The sun seared the pavement and sent up tides of heat that blurred my vision of objects in the distance and made breathing a chore. The two blocks east to Santino’s stretched out before me like two miles...
I fought to take in each breath from surroundings so thick and dirty with gas emissions that I could almost taste the greasy stench. My eyes burned and my throat ached with dryness...
The following passage describes Megan reaching her destination:
Parched on the inside and clammy on the outside, I arrived at Santino’s and pushed open the glass door with the last bit of energy I could muster...
I came up to our table and noticed an icy carafe. I reached for the fluid that would save my life. I filled a glass and gulped down half of it before I realized it was white wine.
The next excerpt takes place as Megan and Michael venture out on one of their fact-finding missions:
Even at eight in the evening, humidity hung heavy in the air with no relief from the slightest breeze. So much for the cooling trend the meteorologists had predicted. It was a wonder they ever got it right. Pure luck, I supposed, which was what Michael and I needed right now.
Such descriptions of the weather in False Impressions play a pivotal role in the story. As part of the setting, they create a mood that enhances my characters’ thoughts and actions and heightens readers’ expectations.
If you haven’t yet read this fast-paced mystery, visit the Books page to find out where you can get your copy of this first book in the series.