Canada may play second fiddle to the United States in geopolitics, but its writers are second to none. The books profiled in this post are all mysteries published this year. The locations, fictional and real, urban and remote, often play as big a role in the stories as the humans do. Mostly dark as a Saskatchewan winter night, these tales show a grimmer side of the "nice neighbor" to the north.
In his series opener, Scott Thornley gives us a detective hero reminiscent of P.D. James' Adam Dalgliesh. Detective Superintendent MacNeice and his team are trying to find the who and why of a murdered violinist, artfully displayed in a beach house not far from the fictional, industrial city of Dundurn in southern Ontario. There's backstory aplenty, almost as good as Walter Mosley, and just a whiff of romance. Those who like James and Mosley with a touch of melancholy may find much to like in The White Cascade
Kala Stonechild and her boss, Sgt. Rouleau, are off at a breakneck pace in Brenda Chapman's Bleeding Darkness. The McKenna family is gathering to bid farewell to their patriarch in Kingston, Ontario, but there are troubling undercurrents, including an unsolved murder 14 years distant and one much more recent. One of the sons is a likely suspect, but how to prove or disprove it? In addition to the page-turning plot, there's good development of the protagonist's personal lives, and Kingston is as much a part of the story as any of the other characters.