About the Author

Nigel Spencer

Nigel Spencer is well known as a translator of Quebec literature. His translations include Marie-Claire Blais' collection of plays, Wintersleep, and her collection of fiction, The Exile & The Sacred Travellers. He has also translated several books and songs for Poet Laureate Pauline Michel, as well as articles, plays and poems for periodicals such as Time, Ellipse and Canadian Theatre Review. His film-subtitling includes Raoul Wallenberg: The Angel of Budapest, A Season in the Life of Emmanuel and Marie-Claire Blais: Illuminations. He has received the Governor General's Literary Award for two consecutive translations of Marie-Claire Blais' novels: Thunder and Light (2002) and Augustino and the Choir of Destruction (2007).

Books by this Author
Augustino and Choir of Destruction /epub

Augustino and Choir of Destruction /epub

edition:eBook
More Info
Evolution

Evolution

The View from the Cottage
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : evolution
More Info

Freeze-frame

by Lise Gauvin
translated by Nigel Spencer
edition:Paperback
tagged :
More Info
Is This Who We Are?

Is This Who We Are?

14 Questions about Quebec
by Alain Dubuc
translated by Nigel Spencer
edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian
More Info
Mai at the Predators' Ball

Mai at the Predators' Ball

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
More Info
Max O'Brien Mysteries 3-Book Bundle

Max O'Brien Mysteries 3-Book Bundle

The Kashmir Trap / The Roma Plot / The Tanzania Conspiracy
edition:eBook
More Info
The Acacia Gardens

The Acacia Gardens

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
tagged : literary
More Info
The Kashmir Trap

The Kashmir Trap

A Max O'Brien Mystery
by Mario Bolduc
translated by Nigel Spencer
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
More Info
Excerpt

As he parked the Taurus on the third floor of the Montreal General parking garage, Max suddenly realized he’d come without even making a plan. He’d driven back to Canada on a whim, abandoning the most elementary caution. Why had he come anyway? David was in a coma and couldn’t speak, and even if, by some miracle, his nephew recognized him and allowed him to stay, what could they possibly talk about?
Your father asked me to keep an eye out for you, but while you were getting blown up on the other side of the world, I was in Manhattan swindling a banker — again! I’m so sorry. Max sighed. His presence seemed increasingly pointless, wrong, in fact. Never mind. He wanted to be with him, and he ought to be with him.
Max slammed the car door, cast a quick look around, and made his way to the hospital. No cops anywhere. Not surprising, really — terrorists never finish off their victims. They leave them to suffer right to the end. Why not do as much damage as you can? No journalists, either. He learned later that they’d been corralled in a smoking room on the ground floor, and there weren’t that many anyway. The operation was over, and the radio was saying that David had survived … just barely. Now he was stable.
Max did spot a security detail, though, but not the usual hospital agency, which struck him as odd. At the entrance, the regular guards’ uniforms were burgundy. These ones wore navy-blue jackets. They were also armed and looked all ready to play commando.
“Can I help you?” An agent had appeared behind him with two more hanging back, and before Max could answer, the man added, “Journalists aren’t allowed here.”
“I’m family.”
The guard looked him up and down. Max realized right away that something was off. Two more agents ambled up in case they were needed as backup. There was no time to lose, and Max tore off down the corridor, looking for stairs to get him out of there fast. Already, he was cursing his carelessness.
He bumped into a nurse, who dropped her tray of meds with a howl of fright. First he tried the door to the stairway, which he opened without looking, but other agents had been called in and were swarming up from below, cutting him off. Max jumped over the handrail, delivering a few punches as he went, but it wasn’t enough. He was being held firmly, his head hurting, against the bars of the railing. He’d stumbled upon some real pros.
“What are you doing here?”
“I came to visit my nephew.”
The men looked at one another. One pulled out his cellphone and stepped away to make the call while they took Max back to the corridor. The nurse was crying, and a well-intentioned guard was helping her pick up the things she’d dropped. Max was taken to a windowless room that must have been where the on-duty doctors came for a rest because it had lockers, a wash basin, and a toilet with the door half open. Someone offered him a coffee, which he refused with a grunt. Then they left him alone with one guard. What was this set-up for? Why didn’t they hand him over to the cops? Maybe that was next. A few moments later, he imagined Luc Roberge showing up with an evil grin. After all these years, I finally get my hands on Public Enemy Number One! Luc Roberge. Max had practically forgotten him till now. Of course, it was his turf he’d stepped onto, straight into the cop’s waiting hands. What a screw-up!
When the door opened, it wasn’t Roberge he saw but Béatrice, and the guard had disappeared. Béatrice stood apart from other women her age, thanks to her long years in the diplomatic corps, her manners, and her attitude: lofty, very erect, and impeccably elegant. She was radiant, even in this naked, cold, and impersonal room. Max hadn’t seen her for years, ever since the death of Philippe in 1990, when he’d shown up incognito — thanks to all the “wanted” notices — to be with his brother’s remains. He’d taken a big risk then, too, but he’d trusted Béatrice, who, during the night, had smuggled him into the funeral home on O’Connor Street in Ottawa. While she stood lookout at the back of the hall, he’d gently made his way through the floral arrangements, as though he had the place to himself. Philippe with the discreet and modest red maple leaf pin on his lapel, for which he’d given his life in El Salvador. Max didn’t know how long he’d spent beside the coffin, looking but not crying — he’d already done that. When they were outside in the parking lot, Béatrice announced majestically, “From here on, I never want to hear from you again. Don’t write or speak to me or David. Nothing at all. You no longer exist.”
Then Max had shown her the International Herald-Tribune, the paper Philippe had used to communicate with him once upon a time. Béatrice tossed it in the street. “Never, you hear me? Never.”
So this was to be a double mourning. Her husband was dead, and Max was shoved into the shadows. The idea was to protect David now that Philippe was no longer around. What galled him the most was not this decision; that was hardly unexpected. It was her intransigence … and all with that bedroom voice of hers. Max knew seduction; it was the basis of his craft, and he could only admire the finesse and subtlety of hers. The outcome was the same, but oh, how she said it. Max had gone from being a necessary evil to just plain evil.
A century later, here she was again, standing before him, attractive as ever. She looked disappointed in him, as though his appearance only meant more bad news, just another rock in the avalanche of the past twenty-four hours.
“How is he?” Max asked.
“The doctors are confident; in fact, downright encouraging.”
After long pause, Béatrice said, “I knew you’d come.”
Max smiled sadly. He couldn’t tell if she meant it or if it was just her way of saying it was too late again, that it was time to lay a wreath and choose a picture for the card.
“I want to see him.”
“He’s in a coma. He doesn’t recognize anyone.”
“I want to see him,” Max insisted.
“What’s the point?”
Before she could stop him, Max stepped around her and continued down the corridor. The teary-eyed nurse was gone, and the mercenaries were clogging the coffee machine, leaving only one guard at the door on the other side. He rushed Max to keep him from going in, while others moved in to back him up. Then behind him, Max heard Béatrice: “Okay, it’s okay.” The man hesitated, then stepped aside. Max glanced across the hall at Béatrice and opened the door. The room was in shadow, but his eyes easily spotted the bed in the corner behind a curtain. He approached and pulled aside the curtain. The bed was empty.

close this panel
Wintersleep

Wintersleep

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged :
More Info
Show editions
close this panel

User Activity

more >
X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...