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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Calling

Wolfe, Inger Ash. The Calling.

Kate Atkinson, Peter Robinson, and Gillian Flynn all contributed to the jacket blurbs. (See Sam's post Blurbs and Back Scratching.) Inger Ash Wolfe is a pseudonym for Russell Smith, a Canadian author, according to one source.

I liked the idea of the 61-year-old female detective inspector and her 87-year-old mother, but Hazel is no Miss Marple. In a small Canadian village, Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef is confronted with the gruesome murder of a terminally ill woman, and apparently, the killer was expected and invited into the home.

Then, within a few days and a short distance away, another murder -- very different appearance -- but with many commonalities for those who, like Hazel and her staff, have looked a little deeper. Now this small town police force that has never dealt with anything close to this kind of horror finds itself on the trail of a serial killer whose victims are terminally ill and...eager.

The characters are well-drawn, flawed, and dealing with difficulties in their personal lives as well as with the pursuit of the killer; the plot is intriguing, and while it did not hang together as logically as I would have liked, kept me involved and puzzling over the strange character of Simon, the mercy-killer with a bizarre agenda.

One thing that bothered me was the dialogue-- the speaker was not always clear, especially at the police station, where the conversation shifted frequently.

My favorite characters were minor: Hazel's mother Emily was a joy; Detective Constable James Wingate and Detective Sergeant Adjutor Sevigny (recent additions to the Port Dundas force) have great possibilities for development and the author managed a great deal with their smaller parts.

Fiction. Mystery/Crime. 2008. 371 pages.


  1. Nice book, I'll buy it today, thanks.

  2. sounds very interesting! Will have to look out for this one. Thanks!

  3. I have not heard of this one before but I like the sound of it. You don't often get a more "mature" sleuth right? Will have to add this one to my list.

  4. I also like the idea of an older sleuth, although I'm not big on the mystery genre.

    "Inger Ash Wolfe" seems like it should anagram into some word or phrase.

  5. This book has received some positive reviews, and while I found it involving, it was one of those books that had little criticisms running through my mind as I read.

    I mentioned Sam's post about book blurbs because I so frequently wonder about authors who give such glowing reviews to books that just don't seem to live up to them.

    This novel kept me interested, but I was less taken with the main character than with the minor ones; I appreciated the well-delineated characters, but questioned plot elements throughout; I found the conclusion and the murderer's behavior less than convincing.

    Would I read another by this author? Definitely.

    How's that for contradiction.