Sharing Books and Authors, with an emphasis on Mysteries.
Friday, January 07, 2011
Negative Image by Vicki Delany
If characters are important to you in your mysteries, I urge you to pick up Vicki Delany's Constable Molly Smith mysteries, set in Trafalgar, a mountain town in British Columbia. There are four in the series now, with a fifth due out in May. Although I'm going to review the fourth, Negative Image, I encourage you to start with the first one, In the Shadow of the Glacier. For those of us who appreciate ongoing series with characters who change, it's important to start at the beginning of this series. Get to know the characters. So much changes in book four, Negative Image.
Sergeant John Winters is called to a murder scene at the Hudson House Hotel, the best hotel in town, just as he was about to leave for a short trip with his wife, Eliza. A hotel maid, hoping to leave her modeling photos, had stumbled across the body of a well-known photographer. Fortunately, it was a Mountie, and a friend of John's, who found a thirty-year-old picture of Eliza at the scene, a crude picture that could implicate her. But Winters was now walking around with evidence in his pocket, afraid to reveal it, and afraid to confront his wife.
Constable Molly Smith has problems of her own to deal with. She's responsible for patrolling streets in Trafalgar, but it's difficult to do her job when she feels threatened by the man who once beat her best friend. And, it's just as difficult when her boyfriend, Adam, a Mountie, feels he should protect her, and defend her reputation when other cops make crude comments. She needs her job to take her mind off her father's recent accident at his outdoor adventure store, and his hospital stay that upsets her mother so much. When Winters, thrown out of the murder investigation, works on local burglaries, Molly is eager to help.
Vicky Delany's characters have a depth, and a history. Negative Image forces both of her main characters to examine their own lives and feelings, as they face their greatest personal problems yet. She skillfully entwines their personal lives with the ongoing investigations in Trafalgar. It's a small town, and Delany shows how crime and small incidents can affect so many people. Delany risks her characters' emotions as well as anyone does. That gives them life, and depth, and calls the reader back for more.