I don’t cease to feel serendipitous about sales. <b>Eric Wright</b> is a fortuitous find: a box set of his first four volumes, at 50c. Complete Canadian mysteries, new to me, are a gift! I wouldn’t have sought the unsmiling grey man on the front but his material is appealing and home grown. It’s no joke: this lay on a stray Canadian table, as my spouse and I exited a tiring extravaganza.
There is a cozy feel, maybe from the protagonist’s family: his wife <i>Annie</i> of Prince Edward Island elite, two sons who defer to her, and a cantankerous Father who visits. The career element is <i>Charlie Salter’s</i> Toronto police department; with the special twist that he dropped to the bottom of the totem pole and is in a slump. A case worth sinking teeth into comes his way because the usual investigators are busy. A Toronto man is murdered at a university seminar and the Montréal case handler, who befriends <i>Charlie</i>, needs them to work on it in tandem. There’s a good deal of wry humour but I’ve decided this doesn’t pass muster as a cozy, which makes for a nice change, because the subject of sexuality is too gritty. More than one of his novels opens upon him seeking out his wife in bed; in blunter language. When he interviews the professorial bunch who went to Montréal, they too are frank about sexual pursuits. In a succinct nutshell: this is grown-up fiction written by a man.
The unravelling of the mystery keeps readers engaged. It gallops in such a way that information is always arising but isn’t fantastical or contrived for convenience. You see how <i>Charlie</i> works carefully, shrewdly to whittle past the surface of blaming the professor’s rival. I love witnessing where and how to go about investigating.