Fiction

Trouble in Paradise

Death’s Golden Whisper
R. J. Harlick

Rendez-vous Crime
$12.95
paper
338pp
1-894917-11-1

These two crime novels occur in what, one guesses, are the authors’ favourite places. What happens in them is something else again.

Death’s Golden Whisper is set in West Quebec cottage country – more precisely the environs of protagonist Meg Harris’s cottage within the Migiskan reserve. With this vividly described wilderness as background, Harlick dives into the many mysteries that first surround, and then start to threaten, Meg’s life. She discovers that the aunt who bequeathed the property to her was not the spinster all had presumed. In fact, the aunt had a marriage that came to a torrid end.

The island on Meg’s property, rumoured to have gold deposits below its ancient and sacred pine trees, becomes the next focal point of the story. Wishing to keep the island untouched, Meg has to content with corrupt politicians, bought-off natives, and a mining company employing her ex-husband.

As all become entangled in a fight for the disputed property rights to the island, a local man and his wife are found dead. The woman was Meg’s housekeeper and friend, and her death sends Meg into an ever-more dangerous game with the various suspects.

Death’s Golden Whisper blends greed, native spirituality, and a critique of how modern culture continues to encroach on paradise within a gripping murder mystery. The first-person narration, crisp dialogue, and stark atmosphere bring the reader effortlessly into the world of Meg Harris.

This is a fine first novel by a talented and spiritually attuned author. mRb

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