(20. - 1125.) Three for Trinity by Kevin Major - Tour guide, Sebastian Synard, is trying to economically survive the Covid pandemic in Newfoundland. Tour groups are rare. He is glad to lead a group of 6 fellow Atlantic Bubble members (Canada’s Maritime provinces established a Bubble that allowed travel within the provinces.) Sebastian, who has also been a teacher and a private detective, conducts a wonderful week-long tour of rural Newfoundland titled On the Rock(s) for the group.
On the tour is Aisla Bowman, an RCMP inspector. Both Aisla and Sebastian are divorced. By the end of the week they are involved.
The conclusion of the tour is an annual show, Shenanigans, put on by Rising Tide Theatre. Early in the show Luke Mercer, portraying a “hangashore” - “A good-for-nothing, a slacker, someone too lazy to fish, who’d rather stay ashore” - convincingly appears drunk. The audience thinks he has passed out in a courtroom scene until all the other actors stop. He is rushed to hospital but dies that night. He has been poisoned by inhaling “hydrogen cyanide with the marijuana he smoked before he went on stage”.
Poison is not a common means of murder in the 21st Century. Maybe it will make a comeback in crime fiction.
Sebastian works his way into the murder investigation. With his 14 year old son, Nick, and his dog, Gaffer, he joins the cast of Rising Tide.
One of the benefits of the case is that it allows Nick to get some experience of Newfoundland outside the city of St. John’s:
St. John’s has its own flavour but its outport Newfoundland that’s the mainstay of the island’s character. Could I live here year-round? Probably not. But there’s no denying the lure of the place on a warm summer’s night. Only a deadbeat townie wouldn’t admit to it.
Sebastian wants Nick to be more than a “townie”
The murder investigation explores rural Newfoundland, its residents and its history. I enjoyed the journey.
Sebastian carries the book.
He reveres single malt Scotch. Laphroaig is prized. He is at his most eloquent waxing about the virtues of single malt.
Sebastian is a charmer. He is witty. He uses his good education lightly in his speech. He is a bit of a rogue. I was reminded of famed Newfoundland actor, Gordon Pinsent, who found fame in his portrayal of a rollicking carefree Newfoundlander in the movie, The Rowdyman. His 14 year old son keeps him grounded.
Sebastian could be a cousin of Tony Bidulka’s sleuth, Russell Quant. They are each self-deprecating entertaining characters.
Three for Trinity is the third book in the series. I am going to have to find the earlier books. It was an excellent choice for the shortlist for the Crime Writers of Canada Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel set in Canada.