By Christianna Brand
Within the nation-state, Inspector Cockrill investigates a wartime beheading.
As struggle rages in Europe, the voters of London flee to the rustic. At Pigeonsford, a gaggle of visitors performs playing cards, beverages tea, and acts polite—but Grace Morland is familiar with the powerful feelings that lurk underneath the placid social floor. She’s painfully in love with Stephen Pendock, the squire of Pigeonsford, yet Pendock’s smitten with younger attractiveness Francesca Hart. One afternoon, Fran debuts a brand new hat, and Grace’s jealousy will get the higher of her. She exclaims, “I wouldn’t be obvious lifeless in a ditch in a specific thing like that!” she's going to quickly be confirmed fallacious.
Grace is located useless with the hat on her head—and her head faraway from her neck. To the scene comes the incomparable Inspector Cockrill, who reveals that excess of petty jealousy lies underneath this hideous homicide.
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Extra info for Heads You Lose (Inspector Cockrill, Book 1)
The male body has traditionally been seen as one of action in opposition to that of passive femininity; masculinity in motion, therefore, has a different meaning from masculinity shown at rest or in a state of passivity. However, the male body, whether in motion or at rest, is problematic because of the contradiction between the vulnerable passivity implied by being in a position to be looked at as the site of spectacle on the screen and the dominance that the male is expected to exhibit. Feminist critics and critics of masculinity in the early 1980s argued that the male body deflects the gaze while the female body is presented for the male gaze.
The tradition of toughness is exhibited through the body, but more importantly it is seen as possible to acquire toughness—an internal quality—through the remodeling of the body—an external one. According to Wilkinson, this attempt to acquire toughness was evident in the exercise and dieting boom of recent decades, but in the 1940s and 1950s toughness was more pronounced and demonstrated through styles of walking (such as strutting) and through acts like cigar-chomping, jaw-working, and squinting while smoking (11).
As Studlar argues in relation to the popularity of Tom Cruise, we might assume that mainstream cinema must “delimit or disavow the dangerous multiplicity of desire (across genders and sexualities) set into circulation by an attention to masculinity as an erotically marked object of attention” and, yet, we cannot ignore the commercial need for mainstream cinema to exploit the star’s appeal to the broadest audience base possible, which includes an appeal to both genders (“Cruise-ing” 173). The exposure of the bodies of action stars like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Gibson, and Willis offers a multiplicity of pleasures to different members of the audience—an appeal that can be an erotic one to desire or an ideal to imitate.