Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Among the Departed: A Constable Molly Smith Mystery, by Vicki Delany

Molly Smith and her boyfriend Adam Tocek are both constables in the town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. Adam is also the handler of Norman, a highly trained police dog. Late one evening, Adam gets a call that there's a small boy missing from a camping area nearby, and all three of them respond. The boy is quickly found, unharmed, but Norman also finds some bones. Adult human bones.

These bones are quickly determined to be the bones of Brian Nowak, a man who disappeared fifteen years ago. In an uncomfortable coincidence, Molly Smith, then known by the name her mother gave her, Moonlight, was a good friend of Brian's daughter Nicole. She had spent the previous night with her friend, and was the last person outside the family to see Brian before his disappearance while Nicole, her mother, and her brother Kyle were at church.

The reopening of the investigation brings Nicole Nowak back from Vancouver, and forces Kyle, now an artist whose works become more disturbing the longer you look at them, to occasionally emerge from his basement apartment in his mother's house. The constable who investigated at the time of the disappearance, Paul Keller, is now the Chief Constable in Trafalgar, and can't resist getting involved in this reopened investigation. This brings him back into contact with Molly/Moonlight's recently widowed mother, Lucky Smith--whose hippie background and leftist politics aren't a comfortable match for becoming interested in a police officer. (Or for having a police officer as a daughter, but what's a mother to do?) Meanwhile, Molly is learning things about her old friend's life since she left town at sixteen, and her current career (not interior decorating, as she claims), and part of Nicole's new life follows her to Trafalgar, creating a danger for some of the young girls in town.

As old questions get asked again, and previously overlooked stones are turned over, the entanglement of personal and professional, and past and present, creates tensions all over town, and leads to an unexpected answer to the mystery of why Brian Nowak disappeared, and how he wound up dead in the woods outside town.

This is a neat, intricate mystery with wonderfully developed, complex characters. Highly recommended.

I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley.


  1. Hey Lis, This sounds like an "edge of your seat" kind of book. I love a good mystery on a rainy day.

  2. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.