The South End Halifax house where Elsie Brooks and her big, complicated family live is bursting with secrets. Elsie’s banished husband lives in the basement. Her lonely sister lives in the attic. Her twenty-something daughters come and go as they please. And when the renegade ninety-one-year-old archaeologist they all know as Aunt Hildy comes home to die, the poor old place becomes impossibly full – of hidden meanings and hidden treasure, of murder and mystery.
Shoot Me is a story about family, fortune, and figuring out who you are. In her second novel, acclaimed author Lesley Crewe has created another mixed-up, frantic, ultimately lovable East Coast family. But as Aunt Hildy would say, “Life is not something that needs to be tamed. It’s messy. Always was, always will be.”
An airport employee whose name tag read ‘Antony’ rolled Hildy Chamberlin up to the gate at Heathrow.
“Here we are madam.”
“And about time too. A drugged sloth would have had me here sooner. If I miss my plane to Canada young man, your head will be on the chopping block.”
“You have plenty of time before you board, madam. Have a safe trip.”
Hildy looked at him as she heaved heaved herself out of the wheelchair. “I intend to have a journey. Whether is is safe or not is up to the employees of this airline and if your shoddy performance as a chair pusher is anything to go by, I have a feeling I’ll be nose-diving directly into the Atlantic before the North American continent comes into view.”
And with that Hildy, in a flowing North African gown and headdress and carrying an ancient carpetbag, an umbrella and a fertility mask, took her leave.
The chair pusher turned his rig around and hightailed it to his pal at the next gate. He held his hand up to his mouth and said under his breath, “Whoever’s working business class to Halifax today will be up on murder charges by the time they land. That, or jumping out of the emergency exits.”
Finally the announcement was made for anyone with small children or those requiring assistance to proceed to the gate. Hildy sat firmly in her chair, with her nose in a book – The Finest Hour by Winston Churchill. One of the ticket agents approached.
“Would you like to board now, ma’am? Before the others?”
Hildy removed her glasses from her nose and let them dangle from the silver chain around her neck. “If I wanted to board now, young lady, I would have done so.”
“But it goes a little faster if….”
Hildy shut her book with a bang. “It goes a little faster if the old dear is put on first and out of the way of the galloping hordes of important businessmen…is that what you’re suggesting?”
“I only meant..”
“I’ll have you know I’ve just crossed the Sahara on the back of a camel, thereafter joining another party to go on safari through the plains of Africa. Lions and tigers and elephants are to be respected. Not insipid, dull and dreary men in suits, who, if they can’t wait the extra thirty seconds needed for me to plant my generous behind in a seat, can feel free to off themselves in the john after we’ve reached a flying altitude.”
The young woman bit her lip and unfortunately turned a bright shade of red.
“Oh do buck up, girlie. You can’t let an old thing like me put you off your dinner. Where’s your backbone? You’re more than a pair of breasts in a tight uniform. Be proud of yourself. And the next time a mouthy old dame gives you a blast, tell her to get stuffed and be on your way.”
“Jolly good. Keep it up.”
Business class was announced next. Hildy gathered her possessions and headed for the gate. Eight men in three-piece suits rose from their seats as well, but gave her a wide berth. Sound carries in open airport terminals.
Her graceful prose…and her ability to turn a familiar story into something with such raw dramatic power are skills that many veteran novelists have yet to develop.”
– The Chronicle Herald
…an entertaining, fun read with a quirky cast of characters that will wander through your memory long after you put the book down.”
– Atlantic Books Today