Winter of Secrets by Vicki Delany read by Carrington MacDuffie

Every hyphenated family is unhappy in its own way. And so the Wyatt-Yarmouth family is unhappy not only because its son has died in a small town in British Columbia where a sweet, incompetent, merry constable is trying to keep the peace. There is also a venomous unpretty daughter, an insecure husband, and a dispassionate wife, member of the Order of Canada.

Fresh, overcurious and awkward, Constable Molly Smith is singularly naive, singularly enthusiastic, and singularly unaccustomed to her office.

Molly (nee Moonlight) with her short, red-haired, hippie ex-patriot mother and her draft dodger father, is at the center of a local catchment of friends, neighbors, merchants and townspeople who treat her like their favorite niece. With her polite, blushing demeanour she is the key to the authenticity of each Canadian mystery, as she accompanies Detective Sargeant Winters in his interrogation of suspects.

The Taken by Inger Ash Wolf, read by Bernadette Dunne

We find the troublesome, 62 year old Detective Inspector in bed after a back operation, popping Percocets and abusing the hospitality of her ex-husband’s new wife. Within a week she is thigh deep in a case of abduction, with a scene of crime and a bloody victim being broadcast live on line to her desktop. Within 2 weeks her wry, dry, black personality has generated several joyless encounters.

Consider Officer Childress from Toronto:

“Are you crazy!!? You don’t send the chief of the biggest division in Toronto a human hand to his desk!” (Hazel: “Where does he like to take delivery of such things??”)

Or Supervisor Ilunga: “Now he was looking at her as if trying to decide what part of her to rip off first.”

I told you to go home… …We investigated this death. You arrived here with a foregone conclusion. What I’m doing is standing my ground against the devil, who appears before us in the form of an intuition. Every time someone walks in here with a feeling i want to reach for my gun. You know how much a hunch costs? A SOCO team with a vehicle big enough to get that boat and its oars back to a clean room, the hours to rephotograph the goddamn thing, the spectroscope, the refingerprinting of latents now 3 years old, I’ll start at $30,000 but I’m being optimistic. “(Hazel: “So its the cost that bothers you, or the revelation that you accepted a suicide wrap because its good for business?…”)

Or Sunderland, the editor of the Westmuir Record, hair plastered flat on his forehead by weather and stress:

Ah! Here she is: Shiva the Destroyer. And look! Here is her handiwork! …You are feckless, power-hungry, thoughtless, arrogant and foolish… You think strong arming anyone you care to into doing your will is the way to run the Port Dundass PD…!? ” (Hazel: How was Atlanta? …If you’re thinking of ruining me you better get in line; you have competitors.”)

By the end the whole affair has cost 30 grand plus one helicopter, but life in the Canadian provinces is back to normal, the “weekly B & E, the biweekly domestic, the monthly car theft.” (“It was so regular that the older cops joked they should have sign up sheets for perps to fill in before they committed theĀ  quota of small time offences” they were delegated in the county.)