‘Folk Noir’ by Helen McClory

 “Spies smile with fresh eggs held out in one hand, a pistol in the other.

Genre is created and sustained with careful choice of images: cues, views, intertextual nods. Yet the fiendishly talented Helen McClory toys with our constructed boundaries in this six paragraph story: her ‘hard-boiled’ detective narrator (“take a drink. It ain’t tea in that cup”) dropped into rural countryside to create an air-punchingly perfect ‘folk noir’.

“There was code here. It said always close the gate behind you. It said don’t trust anyone but yourself”.
McClory takes the symbols of stone and gates and fen and darkness and imbues them with a sly deviance, heavy with threat and guile. The final image focusses our threat into the danger of a liminal locale: “And nothing in this places flickers like a match struck”.

In Mayhem & Death, 404Ink, 2018

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