Mind the Gap is a new murder mystery by Jim McCann that promises to be one of the best.
The first victim of this story is Ellis Peterssen. Somebody attacked her on a train platform, leaving her in a coma. That somebody, as McCann helpfully tells us, has been named within the first issue.
And the curious part about this book is the amount of information given to us in McCann’s own voice. The final pages of the issue, which will apparently be a running feature called “Filling in the Gap,” are basically a chance for McCann to draw guide the reader in exactly the direction he wants. He tells us that we’ve met the attacker within these first pages and points out the timeline that had subtly been included in the background.
He makes a point to invoke Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, but this is not a simple retelling of that story. There are ten corporeal figures on the retailer variant cover. The mention of Christie’s work seems to imply that there are more attacks on the way.
But the reader cannot have been expected to catch these things without McCann popping in to say, “Hey, look at this!” The subtleties of the timeline are just a little too subtle despite their importance to the story. And since this is a murder mystery, every single detail matters. While the author’s commentary is nice for making sure that the audience is catching everything he intended, it’s a bit of a storytelling short. It would have been a better display to tell the story in a way such that this last section was not needed.
But regardless, this a mystery with more layers than an onion. There are twists on every page and a new dimension to explore. Characters seem fully developed despite their appropriately cloudy intentions. When McCann says that nobody is above suspicion, he is right. There are compelling cases to be made for the guilt of several of the characters already.
The nicest thing about the art in this book is the intense amount of rendering provided by Sonia Oback. The lighting in every scene is fully developed, even if some parts of the story seem shinier than they need to be. Some panels place the camera at awkward angles. It is nice that there is a variety of perspectives, but some of the cropping leaves less-than ideal compositions. Still, the anatomy and expressions of the characters fully bring out the drama of the story.
The best readers leave the reader with enough clues to interest while leaving the truth completely obscured. This 46-page first issue succeeds at just that.