Meg Lacey
Created by Elisabeth Bowers

"No matter how paranoid and cautious I am, I'm never quite paranoid or cautious enough."

Vancouver, British Columbia's MEG LACEY was a refreshing addition to the growing ranks of female eyes in the late-eighties. She may not have been as tough or independent as Kinsey Millhone or V.I. Warshawski, but she could definitely hold her own. She's not perfect -- she can be too trustworthy for her own good, and a little too naive at times, and she's often plagued by feelings of insecurity. And her street-wise feminism comes off as a bit shrill and over-simplified, even abrupt, at times.

But she's a good detective, fuelled by a healthy sense of outrage, and she knows how to take her lumps. Like they say, she's come a long way, baby.

Once a happily-married suburban mom, her world was turned upside down when she was raped. She took a self-defense course and, with a new-found sense of self-esteem, she began to question values and beliefs she had accepted for years without pause, and discivered a whole new world beyond the picket fence.

Her husband, however, wasn't quite as pleased with the new Meg, and they eventually divorced. A Single mom with two children, and no real job skills, she was taken under the wing by a sympathetic private detective who needed someone to do legwork. But Meg proved to be a quick study. When her boss retired, she bought him out.

Meg now specializes in looking for missing children. Not adults because, according to Meg, "adults don't get lost. And if they're dead, the police are better at finding them than I am."

She manages to make ends meet, wonders whether she should move out of her townhouse now that she's alone, frets about her (now grown) children, bones up on various martial arts disciplines (she's quite proficient by now), and has the occasional romantic interlude with Tom, her main squeeze for many years.

She's an all-together appealling character, satisfyingly down to earth and easy to identify with. And, despite her profession, she still manges to be surprised by life at times. Like, ain't we all?

It's too bad Bowers never continued the series. Meg's first recorded adventure, 1988's Ladies' Night, published by The Seal Press, received quite a bit of attention, and several favorable reviews, including a notable one from Sara Paretsky. It also seems to have inspired CBC-TV's Mom P.I., which also featured a divorced Vancouver mom, two kids and a sympathetic older eye.

UNDER OATH

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Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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