Thursday, April 28, 2011

Among the Departed by Vicki Delany

When I want to read a good traditional police procedural, with characters whose lives change in the course of the series, I'm very content to pick up one of Vicki Delany's Constable Molly Smith books. The Trafalgar, British Columbia setting is perfect, providing a small town atmosphere while the police have to deal with crimes that affect the citizens and the tourists who visit. Among the Departed, Delany's latest, is another satisfying story that incorporates one of my favorite elements in a mystery, the cold case.

Molly is with her boyfriend, Constable Adam Tocek of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, when his dog, Norman, is called out on a case. Adam is the dog handler for that area of British Columbia, so when a five-year-old boy goes missing from a campground, Adam takes Molly with him to search for the child. They find the child, but when Molly trips trying to pick him up, Norman uncovers bones that appear to be human.

The age of the bones lead Sergeant John Winters to suspect they may be the bones of a man who went missing when Molly was in eighth grade. She may have been the last person, outside of his family, to see Brian Nowak before he disappeared, since she spent the night before with her friend, Nicky Nowak. Brian Nowak's disappearance changed his family. Neither of his children had the life they expected to lead. In the course of the new investigation, family and town stories are going to be re-examined. Lives that were tragically changed years earlier can now impact innocent lives in Trafalgar.

It was a pleasure to return to Delany's Trafalgar in this mystery, catching up with Molly Smith, her friends and family, and John Winters and his wife. The lives of these characters are important to the stories and the plots. I'd recommend that any reader start with the first in the series, In the Shadow of the Glacier.

Delany does a wonderful job showing how people can be affected by the past, linking one man to so many others. Although I love to read cold cases, one statement made in this book hit me. "Open up old wounds, potentially cause a great deal of pain. Cold cases could be very nasty things."  Among the Departed shows just how nasty those cases can get.

Vicki Delany's website is

Among the Departed by Vicki Delany. Poisoned Pen Press. ©2011. ISBN 9781590588895 (paperback), 277p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I read a copy of the book that I purchased for the library.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Thanks for the review, Lesa! I love this series and am looking forward to reading the latest. :)

Lesa said...

I love this series, too, Elizabeth. I really like the characters as well as the setting.

Kay said...

Yea! A new Molly Smith book. I think I ordered one from Poisoned Pen. Can't remember. If not, I'll get this one soon. Can't wait.

Lesa said...

I agree with you, Kay. The Klondike mysteries are good, but I prefer the Molly Smith books. I like Trafalgar and the characters.

kathy d. said...

This is reminding me that I must start this series.

So many good books, so little time!

And also I feel the need to support women writers even more now, since Alafair Burke's campaign.

Lesa said...

That's great, Kathy! And, you do need to start this series. It's one of my favorites.