A Cold White Sun
A Constable Molly Smith Mystery #6
Poisoned Pen Press, August 2013
A fine, judicious blend of action, mystery, thoughtful introspection and exploration of human conditions and motivations marks this novel. The story is a part of the author’s continuing series about the development of a young constable in the police force of a small community, Trafalgar. The town is located in a prime tourist region of British Columbia. That’s a province of Canada. The mountains offer prime skiing, the streams fishing and the forests hunting of various animals. Tourism is big business but that brings troubles as well.
Moonlight Smith, born of a hippie activist American couple, a near-champion downhill skier, much to her mother’s initial consternation has settled for a career as a cop. She’s bright, good-looking and not entirely sure of her life direction. Delany has set this interesting character up with two bosses. She’s basically a patrol officer in the small department, but because the head of murder investigations, John Winters, recognizes her intelligence, Moonlight—Molly—Smith is frequently tasked to participate in his investigations.
This time the crime is murder. Out for her daily walk, high school English teacher Cathy Lindsay is slain. Subsequent investigation can find no plausible reason. Why was she a target? Was it a mistake?
As the investigation winds through Trafalgar, the author has an opportunity to briefly examine the relationships between her principal characters, their family members, and members of the constabulary. Some of the scenes are loving, some are rife with anger and tension. The pace is good and if the threads occasionally fray and lose a little direction, that’s inevitable. This novel has a lot of thoughtful observations and this reviewer felt enriched. I’d award 4.75 stars if that was possible.