The Hidden Keys
Parkdale's Green Dolphin is a bar of ill repute, and it is there that Tancred Palmieri, a thief with elegant and erudite tastes, meets Willow Azarian, an ageing heroin addict. She reveals to Tancred that her very wealthy father has recently passed away, leaving each of his five children a mysterious object that provides one clue to the whereabouts of a large inheritance. Willow enlists Tancred to steal these objects from her siblings and help her solve the puzzle.
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Inspired by a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, The Hidden Keys questions what it means to be honourable, what it means to be faithful and what it means to sin. (From Coach House Books)
Tancred was a tall and physically imposing black man, but he was also approachable. He could not sit anywhere for long without someone starting a conversation. This was, his friends liked to say, because his blue eyes were startling and his voice deep and avuncular. So, when he wanted to be alone without necessarily being alone, Tancred answered in French — his maternal tongue — when spoken to by strangers. Few who came into the Dolphin knew the language. But Willow Azarian did, and she took the fact that Tancred spoke it as a portent. They would be friends.
From The Hidden Keys by André Alexis ©2016. Published by Coach House Books.