Anna Newman, a woman in her eighties is found dead outside her home in rural Quebec. An accomplished artist, the woman has lived almost like a recluse. The police department don’t seem overly interested in finding out about her death, so homicide detective Roméo Leduc feels duty bound to find who took her life – and why.
The protagonists are both of the ‘sandwich generation‘. They struggle with dealing with the problems of their adult children and the dilemma of aging parents.
Roméo Leduc – is a Detective Chief Inspector working for the Sûreté du Québec, who works out of an office in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec. Roméo is a workaholic and has little to no personal life. He is a secret vegetarian and has just given up smoking. Forty-nine years old, divorced, and the father of two adult children, Roméo is lonely.
Marie Russell – is an author of nature books. Since separating from her husband of over twenty years, Marie has no one to share her life. She is now in the unenviable and traumatic situation of having to put her mother in a nursing home.
Louis Lachance – 86 years of age, is a local handman who works for seasonal residents and locals as well.
Ennis Jamieson – an affluent estate planner and investment advisor, is married to a beautiful woman and is the father to two young children as well as being step-father to his wife’s son from a prior relationship. Ennis has received several threatening letters recently which disturb him greatly – because Ennis has a secret…
Susie – is seeking revenge for the death of her teenage sister over twenty years ago.
With well wrought descriptions of Quebec’s Laurentian region, this novel has a strong sense of place. The primary setting is a village of about eight hundred people about an hours drive from Montreal.
The novel incorporates many social observations and cultural references within its pages. With themes of anti-Semitism, Nazi war criminals, ageism, identity fraud, and family secrets, this book held my interest throughout. This is NOT a fast-paced mystery as it delves into many of the character’s back stories and thoughts. Most of the time I thoroughly enjoyed these digressions, but occasionally I found them to ‘bog down’ the narrative somewhat.
This novel is comprised of complex characters who take what life deals out to them with stoicism and acceptance. Leduc and Russell were characters that I want to read more of in future books. The second novel in this series, “The Dogs of Winter” will be published in October of 2020. I can highly recommend this novel and this potential series to readers who enjoy a more hefty, literary, slow-paced mystery.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Second Story Press via Edelweiss. ISBN: 9781772600919 – ASIN: B07NHJSBLN – 224 pages
Ann Lambert has been writing and directing for the stage for thirty-five years. Several of her plays, including The Wall, Parallel Lines, Very Heaven, The Mary Project and Two Short Women have been performed in theatres in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. In the spring of 2019, she launched a new theater company called Ouest End in Montreal. Ann is also the vice-president of The Theresa Foundation. She has been a teacher of English literature at Dawson College for almost twenty-eight years in Montreal, Quebec, where she makes her home.