In the Shadow of the Glacier: A Constable Molly Smith Mystery Hardcover – Oct 15 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Delany's intriguing series opener introduces young constable Molly Smith, who almost literally stumbles across a rare murder victim in peaceful Trafalgar, British Columbia. The deceased, Reg Montgomery, was a widely distrusted newcomer planning to develop a luxury resort outside the town, making for a long list of suspects. The community is further divided by Smith's mother's plans for a public memorial to American draft resisters who fled to Canada during the Vietnam War. Struggling to recover from the death of her husband, build a career on the force and win the approval of her hippie parents and hard-edged Sgt. John Winters, newly arrived from Vancouver with his own set of personal problems, Smith throws herself into solving the case. Delany (Burden of Memory) carefully sets up the conflicts, resolving most but not all in anticipation of the next assignment, and begins what looks to be some extensive character development for the otherwise archetypal Winters and Smith. (Oct.)
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After the murder of developer Reginald Montgomery, rookie constable Molly "Moonlight" Smith is partnered with Sergeant John Winters because of her knowledge of the people and local politics in her hometown of Trafalgar, British Columbia. Although Molly is delighted with her assignment, former Vancouver cop Winters is less enthusiastic. Montgomery opposed the proposed Commemorative Peace Garden, which was to honor Vietnam War draft dodgers, believing it would be bad for business. In addition, he was in the process of financing the Grizzly Resort, which many local residents opposed on environmental grounds. Curiously, Montgomery's wife seems strangely unaffected by his death. Molly and Winters investigate while surrounded by protesters on both sides of the peace-garden issue. Complicating matters, Molly's former-hippie mother is an outspoken advocate of the propeace garden position. An unlikely police officer but a likable lead character, Molly shows her mettle in this initial offering in a promising series set in the Canadian wilderness. O'Brien, SueSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I really wanted to include Vicki Delany up on my list of favourite Canadian Female authors including Louise Penny, Barbara Fradkin and Mary Jane Moffini but I don't think I can and perhaps I only liked the Klondike series because of the setting. I have acquired some more books in this series but they aren't listed as priority reads on my very long TBR list. I think I'll probably try a Vicki Delany standalone or whatever before any more of this series.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Although the town of Trafalgar is fictitious, the general setting, an important element in the story, is not. The Kootenay Mountain region of southeastern British Columbia became a haven for draft dodgers, resisters, and deserters of the American military back in the era of the Vietnam War. Trafalgar, like many of the real towns in this part of BC, took these people in without much question, and many chose to remain and create new lives for themselves, even after the offer of a Presidential pardon. When one of the more successful of this particular group passes away, he bequeaths land and money to the town of Trafalgar to establish a garden commemorating the area's population of draft resisters. This controversial bequest is in conflict with the plans of a local developer who wishes to build a large-scale international-style resort. He worries that many Americans will find the sentiments of the garden, and perhaps therefore those of the townspeople, offensive, and that his project may not be a success. Opposing factions form; should the town remain true to its 1960's hippie roots or is it time to move on and bring in some new and bigger money? When the developer is found murdered in a back alley, questions and accusations fly. Rookie Constable Molly Smith is called into the investigation alongside Detective Sergeant John Winters, a veteran of the Vancouver Police Department.
The case picks up international attention via a Fox Network-style news reporter who arrives in Trafalgar, intent on escalating the situation. There are several sub-plots at work as well. One involves Molly's mother, a long-time activist from the 60's, who is deeply involved in the garden memorial. Another concerns Molly's friend Christa, who is stalked and subsequently assaulted, leaving Molly to feel that through her inattentiveness, she has let her friend down.
Delany handles all this material well. The writing is sharp and fast-paced, making the reader feel the stress and pressure under which the police must work to solve the crimes. The characters all have substance. The author provides background on each of the key players and we are able to form a clear picture of them and their motivations. Initially, I found that Delany dropped the names of the various characters a bit too fast and furiously and thought it difficult to follow the thread of the story. That fell into place soon enough and the plot progressed well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book--a good debut for Ms. Delany's planned series.
by Janet Caplan
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
Told with gentle humor and obvious love and respect for the characters, this murder mystery unfolds with tension so subtle, that the reader is drawn in and holding his breath without even realizing it! Seemingly mundane in nature (a loved-hated developer, who has a lot of opposition in Trafalgar, is found brutally murdered and everybody and nobody is the suspect), the plot proverbially thickens until just about everybody is a suspect.
I just loved the combination of love and humor Delany uses when describing Molly's over-the-top mother and other hippies who don't know what year it is--having lived in that generation, I could relate!
Excellent novel; on to the next!
Trouble understanding why it is the Constable Molly Smith Series, it could just as easily be the Sargent John Winters or Lucky Smith series.
I have to assume this is a home published series because if it had been professionally done surely there would not be so many errors. There are words in the wrong order, words that do not make sense, words that are duplicated etc. and I don't mean a few, they are everywhere.
As what is basically a police procedural category it would be nice if there was actually more of the procedure. Also some of the main characters show a remarkable lack of character and honor.
One last thing, in one of the books Sargent Winters phony wife fails to tell him that there are pornographic photos of her about and then goes to a mans hotel room without telling her husband. With this scenario the author chooses to have the arrogant wife upset with her husband because he was upset. The wife lied and sneaked around, in my opinion divorce would be in order but obviously the author has her own agenda.
One such draft evader who prospered north of the border upon his death bequeathed his land to the town for a garden to be dedicated to honor draft dodgers, thus setting the stage for conflicts between the "peaceniks" and their opposites, especially businesses fearing antagonizing U.S. tourists upon whom they were dependent. One opposed to the garden was the developer of a proposed luxury resort who is found by Molly dead, presumably murdered, in an alley.
Molly is but a lowly beat cop, but she is assigned to assist Detective Sergeant John Winters in his investigation of the death. Further trouble is fomented by a TV personality and outside agitators. Winters and Smith continue seeking clues. While he resents her presence, he teaches and she learns. The DS has his own fears haunting him, which caused him to leave the Vancouver police department for the small town, and these are increased by the frustration of not solving the case quickly.
The author has a way of coming up with unusual themes, and this novel certainly lives up to this ability. In addition, the descriptions of the small town, its citizens and environment are handled exceptionally well. It is a good, solid mystery.
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