The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe
Harcourt, New York, 2008
Borrowed from my local library.
A well-written mystery/thriller whose main character is a sixty-one year old female Detective Inspector who suffers with a bad back, a dependence on pain-killers and a mother who keeps her on a strict diet. Her small town office, threatened by budget cuts, is suddenly over-whelmed by the murder of a local elderly women, a murder that turns out to be connected to a string of murders that take place all across Canada.
D.I. Hazel Micallef is a winner. Short-tempered, with a caustic tongue, she is smart as a whip and facing the same troubles at work as many woman run into, politics and an old boy network that won’t quit.
Her head was swimming with details. Everything they knew now had a relationship with everything they did not know. What they’d learned stood like a range of trees on a lakeshore, reflected in reverse on the water below. Hazel dreaded the journey it would take to get to those dark shapes. A dead woman, a dead man. A pact of some kind. What was being kept? Were these deaths, at least, part of something longed for. As she got older and acclimatized herself to her own failures, she had begun to understand death’s draw. From pages 100/101.
The Taken by Inger Ash Wolfe
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York, 2010
Borrowed from my library. This is the second Hazel Micallef mystery.
Following on the heels of her last case, D.I. Hazel Micallef has had back surgery and must recuperate in the home of her ex-husband and his second wife. Detective Constable James Wingate , who is running things while Hazel is on leave, calls for her help after someone fishes a body from one of the local lakes. Things start to get really strange when Hazel discovers a mystery story running in the local paper. The story sounds surprising like their drowning case.
I think these are great mysteries, smart and beautifully written. I love Hazel, and her colleagues. This is a great series and I hope my library orders the newest book, A Door in the River, as soon as possible!
“I’m reading between your lines”
“Yes, yes, you are,” said the voice. “I’ve been very pleased, I think we are doing very well together. Maybe the story will have a different ending than the one I’ve been planning.”
Wingate spoke. “What ending have you planned?”
“Now, now, Detective Constable. Do you read the end of a book before its beginning?” She began to write again. “I knew someone who used to do that. Couldn’t stand the suspense of not-knowing. Let’s just say the trajectory of the story has a natural end-point. We’re wired for it, did you know that? The shape of our lives imposes itself on the way we tell stories: a welter of possibilities at the beginning narrows and narrows and instabilities appear that obligate us to take certain turns. And then the end is a forgone conclusion. However, twists are possible in such stories as the one we’re telling. Unexpected outcomes. In my experience, it happens only rarely. But we can see.” from page 235.
Inger Ash Wolfe is a pseudonym. People have been wondering (and guessing at) who the mysterious author is since The Calling was first published. At the end of last month the mystery was solved when The Globe and Mail published this essay. Turns out my library has several books by the culprit and I have added them to my TBR list.