There are cultures where the people believe that when a person dies, his soul becomes a star in the sky. I was tempted to say “primitive cultures,” but I thought better of it. “Primitive” in such a context sounds almost pejorative. But of all the things I have heard or been taught about what happens to a soul after the person dies, imagining it turning into a star is the loveliest, the most comforting, the most inspiring.
This past year we lost our beloved Leighton, but he left behind a book that arrives tomorrow. And it comes with a star.
I am sure the book will earn many stars from readers, but the one I have in mind is the one The Ways of Evil Men earned from Publisher’s Weekly. Their starred review, a prize not given lightly, said: "The late Gage (1942–2013) weaves an engaging plot and psychologically complex characters together with a sharp-edged social commentary on the Brazilian class system; his voice will be greatly missed in the crime fiction community."
The publisher’s description of the story is pure Leighton:
“Thirty-nine natives have recently dropped dead of mysterious causes. Given the tense relationship between the Awana tribe and the white townsfolk nearby, Jade Calmon, Pará's sole government-sponsored advocate for the native population, immediately suspects foul play and takes the two remaining Awana—a father and his eight-year-old son—into her custody. But when the father is discovered holding a bloody machete next to the body of a village big-shot, just before Silva's arrival, the plot thickens. Why would a peaceful man who doesn't believe in alcohol turn into a drunken killer.”
This coming June and July, the world’s eyes will be on Brazil when the World Cup competition takes place there. Between now and then, what I hope for is that Leighton’s legacy book will be widely read and that the star of his talent will shine even brightly than ever before.
Annamaria - Monday