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Introduction to Girl Detectives
by Jeannine Hall Gailey
It's important to start with a powder blue car and a locked diary.
The mystery is the disappearance of the mother. No role models.
The girl detective catches the film noir festival downtown, the theatre
with patchy velvet curtains and fading murals. The images light her up.
Silk blouses, nefarious hot-rollered hair. Pools of blood, dim corridors. She thinks:
contemporary versions of my character might sport tattoos, nose rings, contempt for law.
She has a lot of male friends, but no permanent love interest. Sometimes
she thinks it is because she is too good at solving mysteries.
She indulges in shinrin-yoku, to soothe her nerves, control her impulse to clean
her purse again. She meditates, tries hot yoga. Still the tick of that clock in her head.
The girl detective says, if you'd been working since 1930,
you'd be worn out too. The girl detective's sleeves are getting frayed.
One more puzzle to solve: the clock tower whispering too late, too late,
the shadowed hallway leading once more to a tower of books, to solitude,
to a storyline where she might once again be the heroine, thumping along
solid as the engine of her vintage Mustang convertible.
From Jeannine Hall Gailey's Field Guide to the End of the World, Moon City Press