R.J. Harlick is an erstwhile techie, who escaped to Western Quebec for a back-to-nature lifestyle that includes canoeing the waterways of Canada. She currently lives in Ottawa.
ARCTIC BLUE DEATH is her fourth Meg Harris mystery.
Meg Harris is also a bit of a hermit, choosing a modest home in the wild, much to the chagrin of her upper crust family. But the family hides a secret...or a series of secrets. When Meg was a little girl, her father, Sutton Harris, disappeared in a plane crash in the Arctic. It's thirty-six years later, and on a visit to her mother, Meg discovers that her mother has been receiving Inuit folk art that hints that her father may have survived the crash and chosen to live in Iqualuit. Inuit art has come of age, but there are dark forces that threaten the integrity of the art. Meg takes a journey to the Arctic to settle the question of her father's death once and for all. She meets an Inuit artist on the flight, and his reluctance to talk with her is underscored by his violent death hours later:
"I rushed towards the sound to see Pete bending over someone lying outside on the sand. He shook the still figure and cried, 'Johnnie! Johnnie! Don't die on me, you bastard!'"
Harlick portrays the rich array of cultures in Canada beautifully, whether it's the upper classes with their penchant to buy folk art, or the indigenous peoples who occupy the inhabitable lands to the North. Her character, Meg Harris, is a curious mix of all of the cultures, which makes her the perfect heroine. When Meg isn't rushing around looking for answers and placing herself in hairpin situations, she is busy trying to placate a mother with aristocratic expectations. But there is true love in the family, and Meg's courage helps to heal a gaping wound left from a horrible plane crash.
Harlick's writing fairly jumps out at the reader, pulling one in to her unique and fascinating plot. She nails her character types perfectly, adding a psychological component that makes this mystery absolutely appealing. Her plot moves right along, ending with the usual exciting denouement. All in all, this is a great read and appeals to any age group.