****42. – 505.) The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe – At 61, despite a bad back and a long term alcohol problem, Hazel Micallef’s life as an OPP inspector, in charge, but not officially designated chief, of the Port Dundas detachment north of Barrie is routine, perhaps even boring, to a big city resident. Everything changes with the murder of Delia Chandler. Hazel is living with her mother, Emily, who is hardly heartbroken as Delia was her late husband’s lover. At 87 Emily is the feisty former mayor of Port Dundas. While Delia has been mutilated the police are surprised to find the damage was done after death. Paralleling the investigation is the story of the killer, a mysterious figure, who was invited into Delia’s home to kill the terminally ill woman. He uses sedatives to send her to sleep and an organic poision to kill her. As the story progresses the police determine they are searching for a serial killer who is traveling across Canada killing terminally ill people who want his help to die. There is a strange religious overtone to the killings. Hazel engages in unorthodox strategies to pursue the killer. There is ambiguity in the chase as it is clear the killing is being done at the request of the deceased. The police struggle to understand the post-death mutiliations and rituals. As they unravel the mystery the pace accelerates to a wrenching powerful conclusion. I have never read in fiction or non-fiction about a serial killer who evoked considerable sympathy. It is a very clever thought provoking plot. The police investigation verges on the surreal at times. Hazel and Emily are powerful characters. The other police characters start off as stereotypes but become more interesting during the mystery. At 57 I can relate to a 61 year old heroine. The setting of Port Dundas was integral to the plot. I hope there will be more mysteries featuring Hazel. (Parts of the web says Russell Smith is the author. I was surprised it may be a man.) Excellent. (Oct. 18/09)
- Bill Selnes
- Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
- I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.