Reviewed by Jim Napier
Canadian novelist Mike Martin is well known for his distinctive series of stories set in the small community of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, and featuring aboriginal RCMP officer Winston Windflower, his family, co-workers and friends.
In his twelfth outing, we find Windflower on the verge of quitting his job as detachment Sergeant, devoting himself full-time to his family and making a go of the B&B he had his wife Sheila have purchased. Both the community and the RCMP are reluctant to let him go, and he has agreed to serve as a Community Safety Officer in the village, reassuring everyone that his expertise will still be available.
But Windflower’s vision of a more relaxed life comes to a shuddering halt when one of the guests in his B&B is found dead.
Luckily, Windflower knows just whom to call. Corporal Eddie Tizzard is based in the area detachment at Marystown, and Windflower’s old friend, Dr Sanjay, although now in his eighties, has continued to do double duty as the local coroner in cases of suspicious or sudden deaths. A search of the dead man’s room turns up nearly two dozen bottles of pills, all in prescription bottles, and all issued to the deceased, one Robert Smart.
Before long, Eddie Tizzard comes up with some interesting background information on the dead man. It turns out there was an Interpol warrant for his arrest, and he was wanted by several other European police forces as well, on suspicion of diamond smuggling. A plane ticket among his belongings indicated he was bound for Saint Pierre, a French possession off the coast of Newfoundland with direct flights to Paris.
As lines of investigation open up, Inspector Diane Forsythe, arrives on the scene. She is finding her feet after recently being appointed as area detachment commander. Windflower is headed back to Marystown when he witnesses her car hit a moose on the highway. She is seriously injured, and Tizzard is appointed to replace her temporarily. Meanwhile, the autopsy on Robert Smart reveals that he died from internal bleeding, caused when a plastic pouch of diamonds tore, and the diamonds perforated his intestines. Not surprisingly, before long, two strangers show up in the village, looking for Robert Smart. And more concerning, Dr Sanjay disappears. It soon becomes a race against time to find the elderly doctor and solve a crime with international dimensions.
Many readers are already familiar with the Windflower series, and the many colourful characters who inhabit the tiny village of Grand Bank. They all make an appearance, from the immediate Windflower clan of Winston, and his wife Sheila Hillier, to their two young children, Stella and Amelia Louise, as well as the family pets, Lady, a collie, and a standoffish cat with whom Windflower has an uneasy alliance. There are also the local townspeople, and references to Winston’s native-based practices of ceremonial smudging and communing with his elders through the practice of dream weaving. It all makes for an engaging portrayal of maritime life rapidly disappearing from the Canadian landscape, which many readers will find captivating.
All that Glitters is published by Ottawa Press and Publishing.
In addition to being a reviewer with over six hundred reviews to his credit, Jim Napier is the acclaimed author of Legacy and Ridley’s War, in the British-based Colin McDermott mystery series. The third novel in the series, Family Matters, is expected out in 2024.