36. - 499.) Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy – RCMP Sgt. Booker Kennison, has been exiled to Yellowknife after a shootout with a Quebec biker. Ruby Cruz is sent by her Washington employers to King William Island in Nunavut to collect Professor Kneisser, the head of an expedition, and a journal he found of a member of the Franklin expedition of the mid-1840’s. By the time she arrives Kneisser and Marie-Claire Fortier are dead in the burned ruins of a supply shack. Kennison believes he is investigating accidental deaths until he finds a bullet hole in Kneisser’s forehead. Suddenly he is in the midst of a murder investigation, 1,500 miles away from Yellowknife, with the Arctic winter looming and the satellite phone dead. There are still places in the world where communication can be impossible. Amidst the investigation are excerpts from the journal setting out the gradual shift of the members of the expedition from optimistic explorers to grimly horrific efforts at survival. The journal within the novel is a remarkable work. Two subplots were more distracting than interesting. Kennison fears retialiation from the RCMP top brass for his knowledge of the manipulations within the pension fund of the force. A Turqavik cell (radical violent Eskimos) becomes involved. Maybe there are Eskimos planning revolution but it was implausible to a Canadian reader. Murphy skillfully evokes the challenges of living in temperatures far below zero and the need to respect the Canadian winter. The book moved from a great book to a good book with the pile of bodies at the end. It was with great regret that I read the author, a friend of J.D. Singh, died shortly after the book was completed. The last 2 books I have read were by authors dying just after writing them. (Sept. 11/09)
- 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.