Valley of the Lost
Poisoned Pen, Feb 2009, $24.95
In Trafalgar, British Columbia, the townsfolk are shocked when the corpse of a young woman is found dead with her three month old son lying next to her. The case looks obvious as the victim died from a heroin overdose. However, the police do not close their investigation as there are strange marks on the victim that appear to have come from restraints of some sort.
Activist Lucky Smith takes the baby home while police lead investigator Sergeant John Winters asks her daughter Constable Molly Smith to assist him as he, as a newcomer, is less likely to get cooperation than she will. The cops know very little about the victim and clues are not easily found. Meanwhile, John’s wife, Eliza has a potential modeling job with a resort development firm whose projects have strongly divided the community between development and environment.
The second British Columbia police procedural (see IN THE SHADOW OF THE GLACIER) is a terrific investigative tale due to a complex multifaceted story line and a strong cast of characters especially the cops and many townsfolk. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the corpse and the living infant are found and never slows down as John walks a slippery slope between his wife’s desires and his role in the community. Vicky Delaney provides a strong Canadian Pacific complex whodunit.