Monday, February 23, 2009
Simon points out that framing his work during any 12-month period necessarily makes it arbitrary. Investigations do not conveniently begin on January 1, and end on December 31. Some things were already in progess when he started following the homicide detectives, and others continued after he left. One high-profile case, from early February of 1988, involved the investigation of the murder of an 11-year old girl. At the time the body was found extra personnel were assigned to investigate and the investigation was ongoing throughout the rest of the year. If this had been a work of fiction, the end of the story would have had tied up all loose ends and we would know who killed the little girl. And it probably would not be the person we most suspect. In real life, we follow the story, and although there is reason to believe that there is a suspect he is never charged for lack of evidence. We never know. Perhaps at some point after the book was published the killer was found. Life, and death, continue outside of the one-year time frame.