Friday, August 10, 2012

The Suspect: L. R. Wright

From the description at Goodreads:
In this, L.R. Wright's first mystery novel, we are introduced to RCMP Staff Sergeant Karl Alberg; and so begins the highly-acclaimed series featuring Karl and librarian Cassandra Mitchell.
At eighty, George Wilcox hardly expected to crown his life by committing a murder. It had happened so quickly, so easily, so unexpectedly in the sleepy town on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia: a near-perfect crime that wraps Wilcox in a web of guilt, honor, and secrets of the past.
The Suspect won the 1986 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel of the year. It was the first Canadian novel to do so.

This book is unusual in that we know from the beginning who committed the murder. Since the reader knows whodunit, the reader is more concerned with how (or if?) the culprit is caught. And, in the case of this book, why did he do it? The novel is set in Sechelt, which is on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada.

Some quotes from the book describing the area:
The tempo of life on the Sunshine Coast is markedly slower than that of Vancouver, and its people, for the most part strung out along the shoreline, have a more direct and personal interest in the sea.
The resident police force is  the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with detachments in Gibsons and Sechelt. There are traffic incidents to deal with, and occasional vandalism, and petty theft, and some drunkenness now and then.
There is very seldom murder.
This review at Petrona provides a map to show where the Sunshine Coast is located.

I found this book to be a very enjoyable read. It is character-driven, and slowly develops the relationships of the main characters. Karl is middle-aged, divorced, and recently settled in a new town. Cassandra meets him through a personal ad in the newspaper. She knows George Wilcox through her work in the library. It gets complicated.

The book has a cozy feel, although I am not counting it as a cozy because it has a policeman as a main character. I have purchased the next two books in the series, and hope to find that they are as good as this one.

I joined the Canadian Book Challenge 6, which began in July of this year, and this was the perfect book to read as my first book for the challenge.

This book also counts as one of my books for the following challenges:
Mt. TBR Challenge,  
Read Your Own Books Challenge,  
Merely Mystery Reading Challenge
Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge,  
New Author Challenge,  
First in a Series Challenge


Anonymous said...

L.R. Wright continues the series by getting better as she goes. I am sure you will enjoy the rest in the series! Some of the later ones get quite edgy and graphic, but always good reads.

Another similar series, but set in Ontario, are the Detective Charlie Salter mysteries by Eric Wright. Most enjoyable, and, yes, quite "cozy", as much as murder mysteries can be. "The Night the Gods Smiled" is the first, I believe. Follows the same characters in the sequels. Very "Canadian".

TracyK said...

Thanks for the suggestion for another Canadian mystery series, by an author which I am not familiar with. I will definitely try to get a copy of the first one.

Jo said...

This sounds very interesting and my library already has it so I'll definitely be looking into trying it.

I can't remember the last time I read a mystery where the reader knows who the murderer is from the beginning, though I'm certain I must have.