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Valley of the Lost Hardcover – Feb 1 2009

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (Feb. 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159058595X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590585955
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.5 x 22.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 458 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #852,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Likeable characters, an intricate plot and a backdrop comprised of BC's stunning Trafalgar region come together in this latest novel by Canadian author Vicki Delaney. Sergeant John Winters has left the urban chaos of Vancouver with his supermodel wife Eliza in search of a more peaceful existence. But even the placid mountain town of Trafalgar is not immune to violence.

When the body of a troubled woman is found in the bushes behind the home of "Lucky" Smith, a counsellor for inexperienced and abused mothers, the deceased's three-month-old son Miller is given a place near the hearth in Lucky's kitchen. However, Lucky's good intentions unwittingly pave the road to discord in her own family. Baby Miller will not stop crying!

Lucky's daughter, Constable Molly "Moonlight" Smith, could use a good night's sleep. The howling infant, his dead mother and Molly's own traumatic memories conspire to keep her awake.

It soon becomes clear that `sleep' will remain an unsatisfied craving in the Smith household so long as Miller's true identity remains a mystery.

Battling an unknown perpetrator with no apparent motive, an unsympathetic social worker, an overly-ambitious journalist and the darker side of BC's own drug culture, John Winters and Molly Smith set out to uncover Miller's past and catch his mother's killer.

A memorable read - perfect for a sunny Saturday afternoon at the cottage!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The second novel in the Constable Molly Smith mystery series. I enjoyed this story even more than the first book. Good read. Even better the series is written by a Canadian.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa6ae7f24) out of 5 stars 26 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6abd66c) out of 5 stars Valley Of The Lost Feb. 28 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
New and interesting settings encourage me to take a second look at a book and I loved the scenes in this one - the mountain village of Trafalgar, a place of last resort for transients and ex-hippies in the rugged and beautiful British Columbia Kootenays. The plot gets strong kick start when an abandoned baby lying near his dead mother is discovered on the murky, brush strewn slopes of a forest. Equal to the mystery is Molly Smith, a young, ambitious constable eager to prove herself. I found the interplay between Molly and her mentor, Sergeant John Winters, really convincing. I also liked watching relationships between the town's characters unfold as we're caught up in the central intrigue. A very good read!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa705b5dc) out of 5 stars Move over Martha Grimes - There's a new kid in town... April 11 2012
By Willsgirl - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a mystery novel reader. I have some favorites -but I happened to be on business when I heard about Vicki Delany's novels and just had to read one. I loved it. She writes about places I have been and the type of life I can relate to. Valley of the lost is a great read. Her constable and the rest of the crew are interesting/ordinary people. The kind of people you want to get to know...but don't stop there. She has some stand alone stories that are fantastic too.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6edc230) out of 5 stars Great read! March 5 2009
By Madeleine G. Harris - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Valley of the Lost is an engaging, light-toned police procedural that doesn't shy away from exploring social problems in a small west coast town: underage pregnancy, sexual interference and illegal drugs. Constable Molly Smith is a sympathetic protagonist new to the job who must contend with a demanding boss and her aging hippy parents. Plenty of humour when her parents' views of the justice system and marihuana grow-ops don't quite line up with her own.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6c2e024) out of 5 stars Skilled narrator holds reader's attention June 12 2012
By carl brookins - Published on
Format: Paperback
Here's a good example of a spare, tightly written crime novel of classic dimensions. Here is no rambling, no wandering up dead ends with little or no relation to the characters or the main plot. The novel has its problems, but Delany has her targets firmly in mind the entire time.

The setting is a small town called Trafalgar, British Columbia. There's a lot going on here. A development company wants to build a high-concept resort in the mountains right outside of town. There are a number of semi-homeless and single mothers and other young people who seem to be floating through town as well. Light drug use appears to be relatively common, probably due to an enlightened and relaxed view by the authorities of things like single parent-hood and individual pot use. Law enforcement efforts to control things, keep a lid on, rather than reactionary and unenforceable prohibitions. But as the book opens there are concerns about a possible rise in heroin use.

Moonlight Smith, daughter of a pair of aging American west coast hippies has changed her name. She's now Molly Smith and has become a probationary constable in the Trafalgar police force. However, she still lives at home, and her burgeoning career doesn't always sit well with her mother, largely unregenerate in her attitudes toward any legally constituted authorities, including those who have hired her daughter.

A young woman is found dead of an apparent drug overdose. Her baby is deposited with Molly Smith's mother, who works at the town's alternative social service center for young mothers. Finding the dead woman's parents and the baby's father is an obvious first priority, as is learning how and why the woman died. Seems pretty straight forward, but things bend immediately into surprising facts that raise a host of questions. Readers will immediately recognize they are in the hands of a skilled narrator. Author Delany has a fine and subtle understanding of how to handle the measured delivery of information to the reader. It happens in both casual and formal circumstances, but always wrapped in the narrative of the moment. Readers will be advised to treat this book with all due attention. I look forward to reading more by this fine writer.
HASH(0xa6abd600) out of 5 stars A Great Police Procedural July 7 2014
By John Kenny - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Molly Smith is a rookie cop in her old home town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. She has high ambitions, emotional baggage that stretches back to high school, and aging tree hugger parents who disapprove of Molly’s career choice. Molly’s mentor, John Winters, is a capable big city cop who has issues of his own. He’s retreated to the small town of Trafalgar to make a new start. He’s the gruff, but lovable sort of detective who cares more about his work than he probably should.

Molly’s mother, Lucky, finds a dead woman and a live baby in the woods behind the Women’s Support Centre, where she works. Molly and Winters set about trying to track down the identity of the mysterious dead woman, known only as “Ashley”. Then they need to find out why she was murdered and by whom. Meanwhile Lucky takes charge of the squalling infant until his real family can be found. It’s yet another strain in the difficult relationship between mother and daughter.

Valley of the Lost is beautifully written. The characters are rich and complex. The descriptions of the Kootenay region of British Columbia are so vivid you can practically smell the pine needles and feel the cool shade of the trees. Anyone who has ever spent time in a small community will appreciate Delany’s depiction of the complicated small town dynamics.

Delany avoids sensational action, but holds the reader’s interest with the tense relationships between her characters and the detailed if sometimes plodding process of a realistic police investigation. The story gradually builds momentum and comes to a rollicking conclusion. My only criticisms are that the dialogue sometimes becomes a bit expository and there are a few more typos than I would expect in a commercially published work.