Murder at Pelican Lake
Marjorie Mathison Hance
Beaver’s Pond Press, January 2018
Here we have a sort of semi-traditional story, not quite a cozy, set in a small lake-side community with some terrorizing incidents, a little non-explicit sex, and a variety of meaningful, warm and logical relationships.
We also have a carefully crafted mystery surrounding a sometimes lonely career woman, Carley Norgren. The setting is one of Minnesota’s prettiest lakes, surrounded by sand beaches, pines and small cabins, many owned for generations by the same families. It is here, to the cabin built by Carley’s grand-parents, that she retreats after her job in Minneapolis is abolished. At almost the same time, her lover and she have separated and her life seems to be in ruins. So Carley retreats, amid languid summer days, to recoup and recover at the lake. She has no plans, so life has a way of filling the empty spaces, but she is a strong woman and we sense early on that she will recover. Carley lands in the middle of strange and unusual goings on.
A local teen goes missing, a stranger out of the blue asks to copy certain pages from her deceased father’s research and her pet dog and bird seem at times to experience mysterious or unsettling vibrations. Then, late one night while she kayaks alone on the quiet lake, she encounters men dumping something in deep water.
All these events, strategically woven into the narrative, lead readers along step by step to surprising revelations and a satisfying conclusion. All in all a good, nicely designed and written mystery for warm summer days relaxing on the beach and carrying good binoculars for observation of life along Pelican Lake.