Saturday, April 4, 2009
Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany
20. Valley of the Lost - second in the Constable Molly Smith series
by Vicki Delany
hardcover, 291 pages
One of the difficult things about this year of not buying books is that I knew the second in Vicki Delany's Molly Smith series was coming out and I'd have to wait to read it. But my old friend Kay very kindly sent me a copy of the book, for which I am so grateful! It was wonderful reading it while the characters and story from In The Shadow of the Glacier were still fresh in my mind. And what characters they are! In my reading experience, I haven't found anyone writing about children of the 'hippies' from the 1960s and 1970s. What a shock for Andy and Lucy (nicknamed Lucky) Smith when their son, Samwise becomes a lawyer for an oil company, and their daughter, Moonlight becomes a police officer. This situation provides interest in both books.
Valley of the Lost takes place in the fictional town of Trafalgar, a small town set against the Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia. One evening, Lucky comes out of her work at a women's support center and hears what sounds like a baby's cry. She follows the voice into the woods and finds a infant. Nearby is the body of a young woman. It appears that she has died of a heroin overdose, but closer inspection reveals restraint marks on her body which could mean she was murdered.
Lucky decides to take care of the baby boy until the family of the woman is found. Moonlight, who has renamed herself Molly, still lives at home and finds her family life disrupted by the crying baby who is up most of the night. Lucky is exhausted all the time but is determined to keep the baby out of foster care when a worker comes to discuss the matter.
The Smith family life, the life of the police sergeant, John Winters, and other continuing characters are what make this a great new mystery series. There is a lot going on in this little town, and the author touches upon the seedier elements that are juxtaposed with the natural beauty of the place. Those of us who live in beautiful small regions just have to read the local weekly police reports to learn that there are terrible things that happen. The yearly statistics from the local women's shelter in my home area tell a grim story. Vicki Delany doesn't shy away from these sorts of troubles.
Another facet which pervades places with gorgeous scenery is the building of second homes and resorts. The inevitable conflict between community residents is an ongoing situation in this series as well. Some favor growth and the money it will bring, while others want to maintain the status quo. How far will people go to make sure their side 'wins?'
Vicki Delany's mysteries are interesting and believable. The locale is terrific. And most importantly the characters are strong personalities whom the reader comes to care for, and think about, long after closing the books.
You may read Kay's review of the book here; and visit the author's homepage here.