Sunday, April 06, 2014

Under Cold Stone by Vicki Delany

For the first time, Vicki Delany moves a Constable Molly Smith mystery outside Trafalgar, and Under Cold Stone works beautifully. Imagine spending the Thanksgiving holidays at the famous Banff Springs Hotel. Now, imagine an idyllic vacation there spoiled by murder.

Lucky Smith and Paul Keller may appear to be an unlikely couple. She's a widow, a passionate environmentalist, and mother of Constable Molly Smith. Paul Keller is Chief Constable of Trafalgar, British Columbia, divorced, and Molly's boss. But, they're finally together, spending the Thanksgiving holidays at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta. The holidays are slightly spoiled for Lucky when she has a nasty confrontation with some bullies in a coffee shop. It only gets worse when she discovers one of those bullies is Paul's estranged son, Matt. And, then Matt calls his father in the middle of the night, says he found his roommate dead, and disappears. Paul wants to believe his son is innocent, but, as a police officer, he knows his son is on the top of the suspect list. Lucky reaches out to Trafalgar, calling her daughter, Molly, for moral support. And, Molly joins a growing group of family members who appear in Banff, hoping to track down Matt Keller.

Vicki Delany's Constable Molly Smith books have always been about family. Over the course of the seven books, Molly and Sergeant John Winters have found themselves investigating crimes involving Trafalgar and the surrounding resorts. And, they sometimes have to deal with crimes that threaten their family and friends. These books are solid police procedurals set in small communities that deal with crimes that occur in towns because they are tourist attractions, crimes that sometimes involve outsiders; drugs, violence. Threats to the peace of the town can come from without or within, but it's the ability of the police to put together the facts and track down answers that make these stories intriguing.

In taking Under Cold Stone to Banff, Delany allows new readers to easily pick up the series at this point. However, those of us who eagerly pick up any of these books will not be disappointed that the action has shifted for this one. Molly Smith shows she has grown as an officer, as she skillfully puts together valuable information. And, John Winters, holding down the fort in Trafalgar, remains a valuable asset, and one who finds that crime has long tentacles.

Those who haven't yet picked up one of the Constable Molly Smith novels are missing an excellent police procedural series with solid, interesting characters, and a rich sense of place. Under Cold Stone is an excellent introduction if you've missed these books. And, it's a welcome return to familiar, beautiful territory for those of us who are fans.

Vicki Delany's website is

Under Cold Stone by Vicki Delany. Poisoned Pen Press. 2014. ISBN 9781464202339 (hardcover), 306p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like such an interesting read and the cover just draws you in.

Lesa said...

This is one of my must-read series, Mason. I really like the characters.

Reine said...

Thanks, Lesa. I've been looking for a new interesting series to get hooked on! I think this is the one. :-)

Lesa said...

Oh, good, Reine! I hope you enjoy the characters and developments as much as I do.

Karen C said...

I've only read a couple of books in this series and thoroughly enjoyed them. Looking forward to this one, too.

Lesa said...

One of my must-red series, Karen.

KarenM said...

I just love mysteries set at old majestic hotels. This one looks terrific.

Tina said...

Love the series and the new location is one of my favorites. This just landed on the "go find it quick" pile.