Destination: Canada, The Arctic Circle
Book: The Bone Seeker, An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery, by M. J. McGrath (NEW 2014)
“The boundaries of murder were unlimited. Like some far distant universe, every individual act of killing was dark and vast and unknowable.” From The Bone Seeker by M. J. McGrath
I love finding books that are not only fun to read, but also shed light on a place and a culture that I know next to nothing about. So how many books have you read that take place in the Arctic and have an Inuit heroine?
One difference between southerners (anyone south of the Arctic Circle) and the Inuits (Eskimos) is that we southerners think of ice as frozen water. However, in the Arctic, they think of water as melted ice. Edie Kiglatuk, an Inuit, shares this bit of cultural difference along with many others along the way to solving the mystery of a missing teen girl.
If you need to cool off from hot summer weather, let M. J. McGrath transport you to an island. No soft breezes and palm trees here, though. Just too much daylight all summer long. Edie Kiglatuk, the main character is uncomfortably warm when the temperature raises above freezing. That makes McGrath mysteries the perfect books for ‘chilling.’
Edie has taken a summer school teaching position in the town of Kuujuaq, a small town in Nunaviq in far north Quebec Province. In summer, the sun never sets on this Arctic region, and the constant light plays havoc with people’s sleep cycles.
Edie, while not officially a detective, brings a wealth of experience and appropriate skills to the job when her friend Sergeant Derk Paliser, the only law in these parts, recruits her to help. They are searching for the killer of a teenage girl, Martha, whose body is found in a lake that is suspected by the Inuits of harboring evil spirits. Edie is an expert tracker, and sees things that elude people more used to walking on pavement than on ice.
As in the previous Edie Kiglatuk mystery that I reviewed, The Boy in the Snow, set in Alaska, The Bone Seeker reveals a much wider evil conspiracy than a simple murder. In Boy in the Snow, Edie uncovered corrupt politicians and a human trafficking ring. Here, the suspense builds and you will not fully realize the meaning of the book’s title until you arrive near the end.
You know you’re in for a wild ride when the Canadian Defense Department shuts down the investigation and takes away the body and all evidence. Derek resents the non cooperation of the Army and his anger makes him less than a diplomat. Edie keeps some of her actions secret even from Derek. The native people on the island don’t trust any outsiders (qalunaat), even Derek, who is only half Inuit. Meanwhile, a female attorney who has been representing the tribe in a suit against the government aimed at cleaning up contaminants for the “evil” lake, endangers herself by refusing to back down when old paperwork hints at deep secrets.
As you can see, there is plenty of conflict to go around, and plenty of strong characters who refuse to “behave” when the government wants them to back away.
NOTES: I am an Amazon affiliate, which means if you click on the book cover and shop at Amazon, A Traveler’s Library will earn a few cents to help pay the Internet rent. Thanks.
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