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 also
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.
In 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 Under Cold Stone? Check it out here.
Want to know more about the Klondike Mysteries? You can find more here.