Reviewed by Jim Napier
The twelfth outing in Mike Martin’s popular maritime mystery series finds Cree native and former RCMP sergeant Winston and his wife Sheila Hillier returning from their time in St. John's to their roots in the small village of Grand Bank. The move entails leaving his policing duties to run a B&B full-time, and allows Windflower to spend more time with his family, a welcome change for the close-knit family.
But even as he prepares for this momentous change of lifestyle, events in the community threaten to derail his plans. The body of local man Cedric Skinner has been found floating in a nearby lake, and two other men have been reported missing.
It’s the middle of winter, and, when the acting commander of the Grand Bank detachment of the RCMP, Corporal Eddie Tizzard, responds to a call that a second body has been found near the tiny community. It turns out to be Leo Broderick, one of the two remaining men reported missing. The mystery deepens when an autopsy reveals he died from an exotic poison, originating in South America, and injected into his neck.
Adding to Tizzard's problems, a van of German tourists has skidded off the highway, victims of a fierce storm. He rescues them, only to face the problem of finding them a place to stay for the night. After retrieving their gear from the van, he calls on Windflower to put them up in his B&B, even though it isn’t yet open following renovations. Windflower and Sheila agree to provide shelter for the visitors. Only later do they learn that the group might be involved in illegal activities, even extending to the disappearance and deaths of several men.
Short of RCMP staff in the region, Windflower's former boss Ron Quigley asks him to rejoin the Mounties on a contract basis to assist Tizzard in investigating the visitors and the deaths. Windflower reluctantly agrees. His duties will take him to the isolated island of Saint Pierre, off the Newfoundland coast. As a French possession, the island has daily flights to Paris, and more and more, the case develops troubling international dimensions.
As readers have come to expect, Dangerous Waters is a polished tale, with believable dialogue and a strong sense of atmosphere. The characters are engaging, and the author is particularly effective in portraying the close bonds that exist between the members of the small community. As in the other novels in the Windflower canon, Martin’s narrative includes trademark recipes for Newfoundland delicacies, artfully combined with Windflower’s native traditions of dream analysis and cleansing rituals. The Windflower series offers a unique glimpse of both native traditions and maritime life, and Dangerous Waters will appeal to Martin’s many followers.
Dangerous Waters 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 is expected out in 2023.