Among the Departed
by Vicki Delany

Poisened Pen Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-590-58889-5.
Reviewed by Janet Caplan
Posted on 06/11/2011

Fiction: Mystery

This is the fifth in Vicki Delany's Constable Molly Smith mystery series. Like the others, two of which I've read, the setting for the story is the fictitious town of Trafalgar in the beautiful, and real, Kootenay Mountain region of British Columbia. Constable Molly Smith is a member of the local police force and works alongside her immediate boss, Sergeant John Winters.

Among the Departed centers on a cold case which is suddenly resurrected when human bones, found at a mountain campground, are tentatively identified as those belonging to Brian Nowak, a local man who vanished 15 years earlier. The ID is sufficient to re-open the case and, in so doing, the police are instrumental in re-uniting the members of the fractured Nowak family, in Trafalgar. We meet daughter Nicky, who as a sixteen-year-old, left town for Vancouver, and to this point has never returned; a very troubled son, Kyle, an artist and one of the town's loners; and finally Mrs. Nowak who simply became a recluse.

As it turns out, Constable Smith, as a girl of thirteen, was present at the Nowak's home on the morning of Brian's disappearance; Nicky had been her best friend and the two girls had a sleepover at the Nowak's home the night before. Smith and Sergeant Winters are key members of the investigation team and as the probe moves forward, Smith is reminded of that morning.

As in her previous books, Delany covers the central story well and at the same time introduces numerous sub-plots and twists that keep things moving at a good pace. There are connections and crossovers between Molly Smith and a variety of other characters, most of who have been introduced in the earlier mysteries, although it is certainly not necessary to have read any of them to enjoy this latest.

Among the Departed, like the other books I've read in Delany's series, was thoroughly fun and enjoyable: a good, quick read.

Vicki Delany, a former systems analyst, lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario. Among the Departed is the fifth in the Constable Smith Mystery Series. In addition, Ms. Delany has published 2 stand-alone books entitled Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory as well as Gold Digger and Gold Fever, both part of Ms. Delany's Klondike Mystery Series. Vicki Delany is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. Visit her website.

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