The novel “The Reluctant Virgin” is a story of a brutal serial killer on the loose in Toronto during the 1950s. Each murder is sadistic, involving the disappearance of the victims’ blood in some sort of weird ritual. The police are entirely baffled. At the beginning of the investigation, they are unaware that they are seeking s serial killer, as the murderer has cleverly disguised the methods of dispatching the victims.
The plot begins prior to the Labour Day weekend, when a teacher is murdered at the high school where a group of teenagers are to attend on the following Tuesday morning. The two detectives assigned to the investigation are interesting, offbeat characters who greatly enhance the telling of the tale. The teenagers become involved when It becomes apparent to the police that one of the teachers on staff at York Collegiate (the fictional high school) is the murderer. But which one?
Although each staff member is a unique character, some of them are outright eccentric. The passage below describes the first time that two of the teenagers (Tom and Shorty) meet their zany art teacher. In the days ahead, she becomes one of the suspects in the murder case.
Miss Hitch is a memorable character who continually enlivens the telling of the tale.
When they entered the classroom room, they caught their first glimpse of their art teacher, Miss Hitch. Their mouths dropped in surprise. After everyone settled in their seats, they gazed at her expectantly. She in turn stared at them, resembling a spider observing her prey. When she finally spoke, her voice was soft but husky, as if she were breathing intimate details to a lover. She held the class spellbound.
“All students who enter my art room must be well equipped,” she purred.
Shorty whispered to Tom, “I have a feeling she isn’t referring to paint tubes and brushes.”
Miss Hitch was a remarkable sight. She wore a tight bright-green skirt. Beneath her flimsy green blouse, the students could see her black bra, the outfit revealing more than any grade-nine boy should ever perceive. Numerous green bracelets dangled on her long arms, rattling and clanking as she wrote the list of art supplies on the blackboard. When she wished to emphasize a point, she took a deep breath, heaving her large breasts upward, almost hitting the ceiling. A few of the immature kids giggled. Shorty and Tom ignored them. They preferred Sophie’s breasts. She was a close friend of theirs.
Miss Hitch wore her brunette hair swept-up at the back of her neck, forming a large bun on the top of her head, the hair held in place with several jewelled combs. Tom wondered if she might have been “sort-of” attractive, but he really could not tell. She wore far too much lipstick, thick mascara, and rouge. The oddest thing about the makeup was that everything was some tone of green. She looked like something that had escaped from the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve had fled the scene. Perhaps she had been frolicking with the Adam’s notorious snake.
When they departed the art room, Miss Hitch looked at Shorty and in a silky voice said, “For the next class, be certain to bring all your equipment.”
Outside the classroom, Shorty grinned as he told Tom, “Wow! Did you hear the way she said ‘all your equipment?’ Horny Hitchy is quite a broad. I bet she could gobble a guy for breakfast, two for lunch, and three or more for supper.”
“I doubt it. She’s an older woman. She must be thirty-five.”
Neither Tom nor Shorty had ever before encountered anything like her.
A link to the author’s Home Page and other books about Toronto: https://tayloronhistory.com/