Quill & Quire
The small town of Trafalgar, B.C., seems far more suited to quiet vacations than murder, but the detective duo of Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters know better. Their debut, In the Shadow of the Glacier
(2007), unearthed deadly tensions surrounding the town’s ceremonial garden for Vietnam War draft dodgers, and Valley of the Lost
allows them to dig up even darker doings. At first, Ashley’s death looks to be a routine heroin overdose, the baby lying near her the only jarring note. But it turns out that Ashley isn’t really Ashley – and the baby isn’t really hers. Smith and Winters try to figure out who the baby really belongs to, and what prompted someone to kill a girl who “had no past, almost no present ... and certainly no future. Except for this tiny, screaming thing.” In the process, other conflicts bubble up to Trafalgar’s surface. A new resort development promises greater tourism (and career opportunities for Winters’ wife, Eliza) but also greater strife for townsfolk worried about newcomers. The three-month-old baby, without any family members to take her, ends up in the care of Smith’s mother, Lucky, bringing with it visions of grandchildren yet to be born. And a burgeoning romance with RCMP Constable Adam Tkocek adds further complications to Smith’s life. Delany has a lot of plot and atmospheric elements to balance, but she does so with relative ease. The focus doesn’t waver from the main investigation, and the built-in suspense of Ashley’s true identity increases the story’s momentum. In this second novel, the dynamic between Smith and Winters has the appeal of shoes that have just been broken in. The fun will be to experience the growing comfort level in future volumes.
"Intertwined subplots, complex characters, and an easy prose style make this a great follow-up to Delany's debut, In the Shadow of the Glacier. For most collections." --Library Journal of Valley of the Lost
"At the start of Delany's engaging second mystery to feature Constable Molly Smith (after 2007's In the Shadow of the Glacier), Molly's mother is leaving work one evening at the Trafalgar Women's Support Center in British Columbia when a baby's cry draws her to the nearby woods, where she finds a baby boy, wrapped in a blanketaand the body of a young woman. The victim, presumably the boy's mother, appears to have died from a heroin overdose, but restraint marks on her wrists point to foul play. Molly and her mentor, Sgt. John Winters, comb Trafalgar in an effort to identify the woman. After discovering that her first name was Ashley, the police officers learn that the developer of a controversial new resort being built outside of town had a heated argument with Ashley shortly before she died. Delaney explores the social dynamics of a small mountain community as well as deftly handling the plot's twists and turns as it builds to a pulse-pounding conclusion." -- Publishers Weekly of Valley of the Lost
"This second Molly Smith mystery, following In the Shadow of the Glacier (2007), again contrasts the beautiful British Columbia wilderness, vividly described by Delany, with the sober realities of contemporary crime, in this case, murder and drug use. Molly, a dedicated cop determined to succeed in what is primarily a man’s profession, makes an engaging lead character." -- Booklist of Valley of the Lost