30 April 2011

Review: MURDER AT LOST DOG LAKE, Vicki Delany

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 294 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Carrick Publishing (March 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • Source: I bought it
Product Description (Amazon)
2004 EPPIE finalist for best mystery.

Leanne Aimes, ex-cop, bitter single mother, private investigator, really needs a vacation. And the wilderness of Algonquin Park seems like just the place where she can relax and forget her troubles. A guided canoe trip is exactly what she needs. But it isn’t long before her companions beginning fighting amongst themselves. When a storm of unprecedented ferocity descends, the group is trapped on a remote island in the center of Lost Dog Lake. And Leanne comes to realize that someone in their small group is a murderer.

My take:
While MURDER AT LOST DOG LAKE is very readable it is not as good as Vicki Delany's latest books. (see my reviews below).
However, as Vicki herself says, it was a previously unpublished title, written earlier in her writing career, which she has now made available as a Kindle e-book at $2.99.

The scenario is basically a locked room mystery as the weather closes in on a group of canoeists in a backwoods areas of Algonquin Park, and one of their number is found dead. One of the party even compares it to the famous Agatha Christie novel AND THEN THERE WERE NONE.
    We were in a Provincial Park, in the heart of the most populous province in Canada, yet the wilderness that had seemed so benign, so welcoming and friendly only the day-before-yesterday, had turned into a place of hostility and darkness. I contemplated the nature of civilization and wondered how thin was its veneer..
Both Leanne, failed cop and now a PI, and Craig, the group leader, know that they have a murderer in their midst. The story is told from Leanne's point of view.
This is a trip some of the canoeists should never have taken. Here Joe is talking to his wife of 3 months Rachel, to whom he had never revealed the nature of their "holiday".
    “Why couldn’t we have gone to Barbados, like we planned?” Joe’s voice tightened. He was finished wheedling. “Because Richard’s bitch of a wife wanted to come on a wilderness canoe trip, that’s why. And Richard thought it would be a great opportunity to get to know each other better and see how well we work together and all that New Age shit. And you’re here now so tough luck. I need this deal to work, or I’m finished. Do you understand that? I’ve put everything we own into this deal with Richard. If it falls through I’m broke.”
I thought the descriptions of the canoeing trip, the wilderness, and the weather were well done. The story opens on a day that should have been towards the end of the trip, on day 8.  Richard is missing and is then found dead. The story then goes back to a day by day description of the expedition from Day 1 highlighting the various tensions among the group, until we reach day 8. That had a feeling of being on a railway track, although it did provide a useful structure to the novel. Having found out early on when the murder was discovered I was impatient for the intervening days to pass quickly.

I felt at the end that I had missed any clues that the author had given me about the identity of the murderer, but perhaps there weren't any. Any way, a reasonable light read.

My rating: 4.0

Reviews on MiP of other Delany titles:
4.3, VALLEY OF THE LOST
4.3, WINTER OF SECRETS
4.5, NEGATIVE IMAGE

I'm counting this as part of the e-book challenge, and the Canadian Book Challenge (where I now have one to go)

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I always think it's really interesting when we get to see some of a very talented writer's early work, even if it's not as good as recent work. I, anyway, enjoy seeing the author's growth. Thanks for sharing this review. The "locked room" scenario appeals to me :-).

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