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by Lou Allin
Rendezvous Crime, March 2002
288 pages
ISBN: 092914192X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Out in the wilds of Ontario, gunshots drive Belle Palmer from her quiet forest paths. Very shortly afterwards, one of her neighbours is murdered. Shocked by the death of her friend, Belle decides to play unofficial investigator and see if she can track down the killer herself.

'Blackflies Are Murder' is a simple, cozy mystery that can be read without having to think about it too much. The pace is slow, as Allin often goes into great depth about the natural world, mushrooms, the lakes and the beautiful Canadian landscapes. Whilst this is interesting and helps to paint a pretty picture for those uninitiated into the Candian way of life, the novel would have been much tighter had some of these passages been excised. However, we would do well to remember that this is not a thriller, but a cozy and in this genre, authors do things differently.

Palmer fits easily into the mould of the crusading sleuth and Allin has succeeded in writing an interesting mystery. The denouement is somewhat unrealistic in that numerous different people from years ago could all meet again by accident in a town thousands of miles away, but if you can ignore this, the book is a pleasant enough read. There is nothing taxing here, but if you are a fan of cozy mysteries, this is another one that can be added to the bookshelves. Slow, yet enjoyable, 'Blackflies Are Murder' will leave a pleasant taste in the mouth, but is really only a starter, unless you are a big cozy fan. Voracious readers will be left wanting a more substantial main course.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, August 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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