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by Lou Allin
Rendezvous Crime, September 2000
253 pages
ISBN: 0929141741

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Belle Palmer, with her German shepherd, Freya lives in a cottage on a lake in Northern Ontario near the old nickel mining capital of the world, Sudbury. The northern winter is cruel but peaceful, until, one day Belle finds snow machine tracks where they shouldn't be and follows them to a lake where a frozen hand, sticking up through the ice, is the only sign that a body lies beneath.

The police diver pulls the body of a young man from the ice. It is that of Jim Burian, a college student friend of Belle's whom she last saw on his way to the family hunting camp. Jim had been a forestry student at the local university, and a very gentle person. When they had last met, he had hinted that drug dealers were using the local lakes to land small planes and distribute narcotics in the area. The police, however, consider Jim's death to be caused by his taking a wrong turn on the way home.

Palmer thinks it unlikely that Jim would do such a thing, and resolves to discover the truth behind the death. The book is infused with the atmosphere of northern winter. The shades of grey that represent that season in Canada, also portray the people who live there in all seasons. While Palmer is a fully rounded character some of the others are not quite so human, but the story and Allin's obvious love of the North, carries the book. It's strange to realize that a place that is winter for more than half the year and full of black flies and no-see-ums for most of the rest of the year, can be such an appealing place to live. All you need is a satellite dish, a computer, a snow machine ,

and a will to thrive.

Note: Amazon only seems to have used copies of this book for an outrageous price. I suggest that you contact the publisher, and buy a copy. This is a good book to read during a hot summer's day.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, April 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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