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by Iona Whishaw
Touchwood, April 2019
392 pages
ISBN: 1771513004

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lane Winslow, a former British spy who has moved to what seemed to be a quiet corner of Canada, continues to be involved in all kinds of intrigue in this novel, the sixth of a series.

She and the local police inspector, Fred Darling, are planning a quiet wedding, but this continues to be interrupted by events. A hunter is found dead in the woods of King's Cove, his throat slit. There's also a storyline involving former Soviet agent Stanimir Aptekar, whom Lane had previously tried to bring to England; he's disappeared and British intelligence believes Aptekar is making his way to Lane.

An older Russian woman, Countess Orlova, also shows up in King's Cove, seeking her missing brother. She ends up staying with Lane, who knows how to speak Russian and has an extra bedroom. But Lane soon has doubts about the countess. Darling's sidekick, Constable Ames, in Vancouver to take his sergeant's test, looks for the countess' brother in Vancouver. But, instead, he finds another dead Russian. The many storylines converge eventually and it's interesting to see how Whishaw knits them together, weaving in events from the past (the book is set in the fall of 1947).

Only a month from her wedding, Lane is not your typical bride. She's not nervous in the usual way, but struggles with giving up her independence and with how honest she can be with Darling—the Official Secrets Act prevents her from telling him much at times. How can she go into a marriage with secrets?

The Lane Winslow books are in the cozy category, but they are more in the vein of Louise Penny: there's a darkness around them and events from the past still have a tight hold on Lane and Darling, no matter how much they try to move forward. This is a compelling series that combines a cozy setting, spy intrigue storylines, and police procedural elements—not an easy task, but one that Whishaw pulls off.

§ Lourdes Venard is an independent editor who divides her time between New York and Maui.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, March 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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