Introducing: Vicki Delany

Vicki DelanyHello, All,

Welcome to another edition of Introducing…  Today I’d like you to meet Canadian author Vicki Delany. Based in Ontario, Delany had a career in computer programming and later, in systems analysis. But she also had an interest in writing and had two novels of suspense published while she was working and raising her children.

Since that time Delany has written other standalone novels of suspense as well as an adult literacy development novel Juba Good. She’s alsoGold Digger Delany
written two series. One of them, the Klondike Mystery series, takes place in 1898 Dawson, Yukon. It features Fiona McGillivray, who is the mother of a young teenager and the owner of the Savoy Dance Hall. Currently the series consists of Gold Digger, Gold Fever, Gold Mountain and Gold Web.  I hope there’ll be another.

The other series, for which she is perhaps better known, is her Smith and Winters series. That series takes place in Trafalgar, British Columbia and features Constable Moonlight ‘Molly’ Smith and her boss Sergeant John Winters. This series begins with In the Shadow of the Glacier. The seventh Smith and Winters novel, Under Cold Stone, has just been released.

undercoldstoneIn this novel, Smith’s mother Lucy ‘Lucky’ and her partner Paul Keller (Trafalgar’s Chief Constable of Police) are taking a ‘just for the two of us’ trip to Banff, in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. Their plan is to indulge themselves at the Banff Springs Hotel. But they get drawn into a murder when Keller’s estranged son Matt disappears. What’s worse, it looks as though Matt may have committed murder. Matt’s experienced in wilderness life, so he could be anywhere, and RCMP Sergeant Edward Blechta thinks Matt’s escape is proof that he’s guilty. The case isn’t within Molly Smith’s jurisdiction, but she goes to Banff to be of whatever support she can to her mother. At first, she doesn’t plan to get involved in the investigation, but when Matt’s girlfriend begs her to find out the truth and clear Matt’s name, she starts asking questions.

In the meantime, Winters has his hands full in Trafalagar. Some ugly protests against the Grizzly Resort have been launched, and Winters has to do his best to keep the peace. Although the two plot threads seem distinct, Delany ties them together.

One of the things readers will very much appreciate about this series is that both Smith and Winters are normal people, if I can put it that way. They both have scars, as we all do, but neither is demon-haunted, addicted, or unable to work with others. The novels follow the plots from each one’s perspective too so that we see a broader picture of the story.

One thing that often concerns readers about a series is whether they can start with a later novel rather than at the beginning. In this case, one can. Delany does include story arcs in the series, but readers who haven’t been ‘in on it’ from the beginning can easily pick up the gist of those arcs. And each novel has a self-contained mystery plot that doesn’t require any knowledge from previous books.

Delany’s work is distinctly Canadian and gives the reader a real sense of setting. And for those who prefer not to have a lot of gore and violence in their reading, I’ll note that these two series do not include really ugly depictions of violence. And yet, they have enough of a ‘bite’ that it would be hard to call them ‘cosy.’ Now that I’ve whetted your appetite…


Want to know more about Vicki Delany? Her website is here and her Twitter page is here.

Want to know more about Under Cold Stone? Check it out here.

Want to know more about the Klondike Mysteries? You can find more here.


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29 responses to “Introducing: Vicki Delany

  1. I have the first Molly Smith book, In the Shadow of the Glacier, on my Kindle to read in April or May. Looking forward to trying the series out.

  2. All that I’ve read so far from Canada (or set in Canada) I have liked. So I think I’ll have to give this series a try as well…

    • Marina Sofia – I know what you mean. There’s a lot to like about Canadian crime fiction. This series is, in my opinion, no exception. I think it’s really well done.

  3. Col

    Hmm…ought to read more from Canada, not 100% certain this is an author for me though. I will stay on the fence for now, but thanks.

    • Col – I think there are a lot of highly talented Canadian authors out there for you to try. Some more noirish than Delany, some less. I hope you’ll get the chance to sample them.

  4. You mentioned this series in your Canadian quiz recently, I think, and I was tempted then, just based on the name. Moonlight Molly Smith! Who wouldn’t love that character? So I will read this one.

    • Moira – When I tell you that her full name is Moonlight Legolas Smith, you may like that even more. She’s not fond of it, which is why she goes by Molly, but it’s an interesting aspect of her personality. I hope that if you get the chance to read this one you’ll enjoy it.

  5. Thanks for having me, Margot. For those of you interested in finding out more about what’s the latest and best in Canadian crime writing check out the Crime Writers of Canada. If you like, sign up for Crime Beat, our quarterly newsletter of the latest released. And! Come and meet us at Bloody Words in Toronto in June.

  6. I like the idea of not too much gore and violence. Thanks for the introduction, Margot. I will put it on my ever growing TBR list.

  7. Haven’t read her yet, Margot, but I’ve seen her at some mystery conferences, and I believe she’ll be at Malice Domestic next month. I may have to add this to my TBR pile…

  8. Margot: Thanks for an interesting post on Vicki. I enjoyed A Cold White Sun and have one of the Yukon series to be read this spring.

  9. kathy d.

    I am so glad you have a post about Vicki Delany. I’ve read the first two Molly Smith books, and must say if you want a decent mystery sans gore and brutality, this series is just right. It’s also so relaxing and a virtual vacation to read about this area of British Columbia. I feel relaxed just reading these books.
    I must admit that my favorite character is Lucky Smith, Molly’s mother, a character after my own heart. And I put the current book on library reserve because she features prominently in it.

    • Kathy – Isn’t Vicky Delany’s work great? I agree that it’s a very nice balance between a solid story (not too ‘frothy’) that is also not brutal and gory. And yes, Lucky is a wonderful character! I just think she’s great. She evolves nicely and effectively as the series goes on too.

  10. kathy d.

    And Lucky’s character shows that women of a certain age can be productive and active, always a good thing.

  11. Canada really is a rich place for crime fic isn’t it? Thanks for introducing this author.

  12. I’ve not come across her but I shall make a note and add her to my must be read pile. I often wonder about people picking up on the backstory of a series if dipping into a book out of sequence and so it is interesting that she manages to take her readers with her in spite of not reading in sequence. Something I am considering doing at the moment. It’s a real brain teaser and getting it right is crucial. Thanks for the introduction to another author I might never have come across on my own.

  13. vickidelany

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. I am going to be at Malice Domestic in May, so if you are there, please come over and say hi.

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