Monday, July 29, 2013

A Cold, White Sun (A Constable Molly Smith Mystery), by Vicki Delany

Poisoned Pen Press, ISBN 9781464201585, August 2013

Constable Molly Smith, of Trafalgar, BC, is back, with a puzzling murder to solve.

Cathy Lindsey is a high school English teacher at the local high school, mother of a borderline juvenile delinquent teenage son, and a sweet ten-year-old girl. She also teaches creative writing at the local adult education center. Her marriage to her husband, Gord, is imperfect, a bit frayed at the edges, but not on the verge of breaking apart.

There's no obvious reason for her to be killed one sunny winter Saturday morning, by a skilled sniper who covers his tracks in a very professional manner.

Molly, currently just a patrolman but with ambitions to make detective someday, is the first officer on the scene, and in this small town and small police force, she remains involved on the edges of the investigation. Meanwhile, there are other odd or disturbing things going on in Trafalgar. Not least disturbing to Molly is that her mother, Lucky, is dating Chief Constable Paul Keller--and, most disturbing to Molly, probably having sex. Sargent John Winters' wife Eliza, owner of a local art gallery, is alarmed to discover her pleasant, sixty-something assistant, Margo Franklin, believes that a man who came into the gallery must be the son she was forced to give up at birth, never getting the chance even to hold him, when she was a scared, powerless pregnant teenager. She's so certain of it that she's following the man around and spooking him.

In Molly's own personal life, she's experiencing doubts about moving forward in her relationship with Adam Tocek, and has met an attractive, if slightly pushy, new man on the local ski slopes.

This is a story that runs on gossip and personality, character development and human understanding. It's more cozy than police procedural, despite Molly's profession.

It's a good, satisfying read. Recommended.

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