The Pleasure of the Throw-Away Line

The Dr. Ruth Galloway series are about gender politics.

There are alpha males galore in the police departments of the various locales. But there are women just itching to unseat them. Such as DI Judy Johnson, who is in the forefront of the investigation in The Chalk Circle (Dr. Ruth Galloway # 9).

Here, Judy Johnson and her partner, a likeable but very alpha Dave Clough, interview a witness in a missing woman case. The missing woman’s name is Sam.

“When did you last see Sam?”

“It must have been on Monday,” says Meg. “The mother and baby group is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’m pretty sure Sam was here on Monday.”

“Can you check?” says Clough. “Do you take a register?”

Meg laughs. “No, it’s quite free and easy, Inspector.” Judy notes Clough doesn’t correct her about his rank.

The Chalk Circle, p. 202

That last sentence!

David Clough’s main characteristic is that he has to be constantly stuffing his face with junk food. But when it comes to interviewing a witness, apparently the man gets all the respect. He and Judy Johnson are friends, but — Clough doesn’t correct the witness when she calls him “Inspector.”

Stay tuned.

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