The Girl in the Glass by James Hayman
About a hundred years ago, Aimee Garnier Witby was murdered. A big A was carved into her chest. Her body was found mangled below a cliff, on an island, which her husband owned. Nobody really knows what happened. They assumed that her lover, an artist, murdered her.
A hundred years later McCabe, a detective, has a new case. A young woman has been found dead in the woods by a runner and his dog. McCabe has a eidetic memory so he thinks back to if he’s seen the girl before. Yes, he has. The girl is Aimee Whitby. Who killed her and why?
Things start to unravel, pretty quickly. Aimee had been having an illegal affair with one of her teachers at the private school she had attended. Soon after, another body follows.
Did the man who found the boy kill Aimme? Was it her sister? Was it her father? Was it her step-mother? How about the very pregnant wife of the teacher? Was it the teacher?
The truth eventually comes out, but not without some damage along the way.
What I liked
This is just a good old murder mystery. Who did it? Why did they do it? Can they be caught? Dead or alive? What were the motives?
What I didn’t like
The story was rather formulaic. Murder–who did it–copycat–why–etc.. There’s always a somebody who did it and a why somebody did it. Then there’s always that top-notch detective. It’s a formula that has really been followed since Edgar Allan Poe’s detective Auguste Dupin and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Our media is incredibly saturated with these detectives. Each one has a niche. Sherlock is incredibly intelligent with his memory palace and all. Nick is a Grimm. McCabe has an eidetic memory.
Ok, here’s a flaw in this whole thing, surely a mystery writer like James would know about computer forensics. Surely. Surely, I mean, you would think that he would have researched this and have known that computer forensics would have been the first thing someone would have done with the teacher’s computer. You would be wrong. In fact, when the computer is found, someone turns it on and logs into it, without sending it to computer forensics first. What?
Let me explain computer forensics a bit. I work in IT for my day job and I am Security + certified, just in case you’re looking for someone who is, joking, but not really. There is something known as The Order of Volatility. It means that some items must be gathered first because they disappear first. These are such things as logs, caches, memory registers, etc.. By logging into this laptop, in this story, some of these processes were disturbed and may delete pertinent information. There’s only a finite amount of space for these things to be stored. I guarantee you that each time you log into your computer, another record of logging into your computer was lost. Some of this stuff can be recovered with special hard drive analysis software, but you generally don’t want to mess with a crime scene computer before having it go to computer forensics.
Computer forensics would make an image of this hard drive. They would preserve its current state in a digital form to refer back to and analyze.
The book was good as is, as a quick mystery novel, but James needs to know about computer forensics. Some detective arbitrarily logging into a computer at a maybe crime scene is not kosher.
James, wherever you are, go talk to a computer forensics expert.
Computer forensics–that is all.
Would you have logged into the computer if you had found it?
What do you think about copy cat murders, supposed or otherwise?