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You Light up my Death by Mary Jane Maffini

Reviewed by Jim Napier

Camilla McPhee’s life is seldom dull. An Ottawa-based lawyer who specializes in victim’s rights, she has finally eloped to Cape Breton with her longtime partner, detective Ray Deveau.

But things take a turn for the worse when Ray suddenly shuts Camilla out of even small talk. Then, while visiting friends and family in Nova Scotia, Ray disappears. His SUV, Camilla’s wedding dress, laptop, wallet, credit cards, and cell phone are also gone, leaving her stranded and wondering just what on earth had just happened.

Being Camilla, the feisty lawyer sets out to track Ray down. But she makes some unsettling discoveries along the way. Not least is the fact that the grave of the woman she’s always believed to be her mother shows she had died a year before Camilla was born! A simple error, or is there more to it?

Back on the road, things only get more confusing. Enlisting the help of eccentric friends and extended family, she finds Ray’s SUV and, thankfully, her wallet and phone. She is now disturbed by the possibility that Ray has been kidnapped. Before long, Camilla is targeted by someone intent on running her off the road on Cape Breton’s treacherous Cabot Trail. She enlists the help of a good-hearted but eccentric cousin, Donald Donnie McDonald (known, unsurprisingly, as Donnie Donnie). It’s not long before the plucky sleuth realizes that her journey to get to the bottom of things is a lot more dangerous than she has imagined.

Award-winning Ottawa author Mary Jane Maffini has entertained readers for over two decades with no less than three series of comedic cozies featuring the lighter side of crime. Maffini’s trademark wit shows itself in the titles of her works, including The Icing on the Corpse, Speak Ill of the Dead, The Dead Don’t Get Out Much, Lament for a Lounge Lizard, and The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder. Readers in search of some lighthearted escape from the more mundane world of gritty crime and protagonists with wearying personal problems will not be disappointed. Highly recommended!

You Light up my Death by Mary Jane Maffini 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.


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