Escape roomby: Cserháti Éva
Escape Room – (Athenaeum, 2021)
The Second Case of the HAND
Read the beginning of the book:
He could have killed for Grandma. With a capital G: Grandma. She used to say the same: ‘I could kill for my grandchildren’. And this wasn’t an empty phrase. Grandma would indeed have been able to kill. He now had the evidence in front of him. It wasn’t conclusive, it wasn’t black-and-white, but it was more than a vague possibility. It was Grandma’s life squeezed into a folder. And now he was entrusted with this life. Him alone.
The chances that anybody would find the letters of complaint were remote, and that they would make a big deal out of it after forty years were even smaller. However, the blogging world was prospering and amateur researchers and self-appointed journos were hunting down those who could be vilified for everything that had happened during the forty years of state socialism. And he couldn’t allow Grandma’s history to be accessed by a simple click. He could still prevent others from passing judgement on her.
She had sat on the committee and decided about people’s lives. About whole families. She might have been bribed, she might have blackmailed some of them. In those years it couldn’t have happened otherwise. Was she asked to fulfil this role? Did she accept voluntarily or was she designated and forced to do it? Nobody would ever know. And even if they did, would it change the facts? Grandma had been part of the regime and she had never denied it. Maybe she would have talked about it, if he had asked. But who would have thought that she had taken part in such things?
Who should decide if Grandma was a good person? Good enough to be cared for by society in her old age? By that society in whose improvement she had believed and believed absolutely. He had learned from her that what counted was not the individual but the community. Sometimes this truth was painful. That’s why he had asked her so many times: if this was the case, did it matter that Grandma’s grandchildren were them, not somebody else, not everybody? Grandma’s reply was always the same:
‘Blood ties do not count. You’re my grandchildren because I wanted you.’
The knowledge of having been chosen had helped him through so many low moments. Only romantic passion chooses with such assurance, but that fades away after a couple of months or years. But Grandma’s love had never faded. He was her Grandchild and he could have killed for her love.
In Escape Room – The Second Case of the HAND (Athenaeum, 2021) six women are sitting in 1974 in the waiting room of a small town hospital. They are waiting for the decision on their cases to be issued by the local abortion committee. One of them disappears on her way back to the canning factory where they all work, and she is never found. In 2016 a group of young activists who are just about to form a new opposition party, are relaxing in an escape room. The game turns deadly as one of them – the future leader – dies from an allergic attack. The victim is the grandson of the woman who was last seen in 1974. And only a week before his death he hired a private investigator to look into the disappearance of his grandmother.