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Blackflies Are Murder. A Belle Palmer Mystery. Paperback – Jan 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Rendezvous Press (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 092914192X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929141923
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 336 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,123,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback
In this second Belle Palmer mystery, our favorite Sudbury, Ontario real estate agent gets involved not only with crimes against persons but crimes against nature as well. The action and plot criss-cross through the pristine forest of wild berries, wild flowers, and wild bears to the glacial lakes of her resort-like neighborhood just waking up for summer. Also present is the tic-tac-toe board of events that include the illegal trade in animal parts to meet the burgening demand for Chinese medicine in the large cities and the shameful abuse of Inian children in the outer villages Christian schools of the 1960's. The unfolding of these political and emotional crimes are all the result of the murder of Belle's crusading neighbor. Secrets from the past are brought to light with her discovery of a street person who turns out to be her ploice chum's brother. I love all the diverse characters in the book, but the one who stands out in my mind is the inscrutable Sister Veronica. She is distrustful but heroic, suspicious but wise all rolled into one. And I feel that it is Sister Veronica who delivers the most telling line in the story at the very end. This is another interesting, descriptive, patchwork-clever read by Lou Allin.
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Format: Paperback
Lou Allin originally hails from Toronto; but grew up in Ohio and earned a Ph.D. in English Renaissance Literature before moving back to Sudbury, Ontario to teach at Cambrian College. Blackflies are Murder is her second Belle Palmer mystery
Belle Palmer is a real estate agent living in the north, where it is easy to trip over bears; bait; hunters; and unmerciful Ontario winters. Belle's primary occupations besides her business is looking after her aging father and taking long walks to commune with nature. Belle's love of nature is shared by her friend Anni, a reclusive retiree who suddenly turns up dead in her home. Newcomer Charles Sullivan, buys a property close to Belle's and who turns out to be delightful company and a good neighbor. But things are not what they seem on the surface, and Belle finds herself the disconcerted discoverer of dead bodies, including Charles. Is it murder, or is there another explanation? When Belle is almost run off the road and her new neighbor is almost poisoned, she is convinced that these events are not just accidents:
"Sorry, Charles. No time for niceties. Your line was busy. You haven't tasted that gift yet, have you? He pointed to the sizzling pan, the air rich with butter. 'Why? What's wrong? I was calling the weather line, or as they call it, da wedderline. That dialect tickles my ear.' She flopped into a chair, her breathing returning to normal, noting the chopped mushrooms still on the counter. 'Oh, nothing. Just gastric upset possible leading to convulsions. Probably survivable, health man like you. Jack O'Lanterns aren't as deadly as the infamous amanitas or the corts."
Lou Allin raises the bar on mystery writing. Her almost contemplative style is heavy on character development and local color.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
Good read Nov. 19 2013
By C. Halpern - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kind of a slow paced read; but interesting for the descriptions of life in a cold (brrr) small town. word
Ultimately, very good... March 11 2013
By karen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to admit, ten pages in and I was wondering if I was going to continue. Good thing I was too lazy to get up to get another book. The good news is, as I moved along, my problems with the first part evaporated, and it turned out to be a very good book indeed. Now I'm ordering a few more of these luscious Canadian treats by Lou Allin.

What was the problem? The writing was too clever by half -- seemed like every sentence was overloaded with metaphors, clever little characterizations, similes and more. I was finding it necessary to read every sentence at least twice, trying to figure out what she was talking about. There's still some problem with that, as the book goes along, but the way-too-clever writing diminishes to the point where it's not a problem. It would still help to have some knowledge of Canadian lore -- all kinds of lore, everything from the names of local beers to flora and fauna. Some sentences I never did figure out -- like one where she was talking about seeing an "asp" under some leaves. Couldn't possibly be a snake, must be a plant of some kind. It didn't seem critical to the story line, so I just moved along.

All in all, a worthy mystery. I liked the characters, the plot and most of all the location and scenery. I've spent a lot of time on lakes in Northern Minnesota, and I tell ya, there were times when Allin was writing about the Canadian lake side I could actually smell it -- wonderful! I'm sure I'm not the only reader to start to reassess the possibility of living on a lake in these cold climes....

Bottom line: Loved the book -- highly recommended for anyone who likes location-rich books with a touch of mystery.
Lou Allin's mysteries move up another notch! July 11 2003
By Joan Albarella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this second Belle Palmer mystery, our favorite Sudbury, Ontario real estate agent gets involved not only with crimes against persons but crimes against nature as well. The action and plot criss-cross through the pristine forest of wild berries, wild flowers, and wild bears to the glacial lakes of her resort-like neighborhood just waking up for summer. Also present is the tic-tac-toe board of events that include the illegal trade in animal parts to meet the burgening demand for Chinese medicine in the large cities and the shameful abuse of Inian children in the outer villages Christian schools of the 1960's. The unfolding of these political and emotional crimes are all the result of the murder of Belle's crusading neighbor. Secrets from the past are brought to light with her discovery of a street person who turns out to be her ploice chum's brother. I love all the diverse characters in the book, but the one who stands out in my mind is the inscrutable Sister Veronica. She is distrustful but heroic, suspicious but wise all rolled into one. And I feel that it is Sister Veronica who delivers the most telling line in the story at the very end. This is another interesting, descriptive, patchwork-clever read by Lou Allin.
A book to be savored, rather than rushed through Nov. 4 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lou Allin originally hails from Toronto; but grew up in Ohio and earned a Ph.D. in English Renaissance Literature before moving back to Sudbury, Ontario to teach at Cambrian College. Blackflies are Murder is her second Belle Palmer mystery
Belle Palmer is a real estate agent living in the north, where it is easy to trip over bears; bait; hunters; and unmerciful Ontario winters. Belle's primary occupations besides her business is looking after her aging father and taking long walks to commune with nature. Belle's love of nature is shared by her friend Anni, a reclusive retiree who suddenly turns up dead in her home. Newcomer Charles Sullivan, buys a property close to Belle's and who turns out to be delightful company and a good neighbor. But things are not what they seem on the surface, and Belle finds herself the disconcerted discoverer of dead bodies, including Charles. Is it murder, or is there another explanation? When Belle is almost run off the road and her new neighbor is almost poisoned, she is convinced that these events are not just accidents:
"Sorry, Charles. No time for niceties. Your line was busy. You haven't tasted that gift yet, have you? He pointed to the sizzling pan, the air rich with butter. 'Why? What's wrong? I was calling the weather line, or as they call it, da wedderline. That dialect tickles my ear.' She flopped into a chair, her breathing returning to normal, noting the chopped mushrooms still on the counter. 'Oh, nothing. Just gastric upset possible leading to convulsions. Probably survivable, health man like you. Jack O'Lanterns aren't as deadly as the infamous amanitas or the corts."
Lou Allin raises the bar on mystery writing. Her almost contemplative style is heavy on character development and local color. Her style is almost scholarly, so that the reader has to pause to fully appreciate the flavor of her metaphors. But it fits with the Canadian "slow down and take a look at what's around you" attitude. No rushing around in screeching cop cars for Ms. Allin, but she gets the point across just the same. Blackflies are Murder is a book to be savored, rather than rushed through. Ms. Allin is a nature connoisseur, with much to teach us.
Shelley Glodowsky
Reviewer

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