During the third week of January, the town of Algonquin Bay in Ontario experiences a freak warm front. There is a thick fog blanketing the area pushing up the temperature and bears are coming out of hibernation. When a mechanic discovers a mauled arm in the snow, the first assumption is that someone has fallen victim to a very hungry bear.
Detective John Cardinal and his partner Lise Delorme search the area and discover other body parts strewn around. The lack of blood on the snow indicates that the owner was dead and dismembered before the bears got to him. The victim isn’t a local so the first thing the detectives have to do is find out who he is. As if things aren’t difficult enough, the CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) has decided to become involved. Cardinal and Delorme are convinced that they are hindering the case by feeding them disinformation about the victim. But why?
A week or so later another body is found in the woods. A young female doctor, new to Algonquin Bay, strangled and posed in a position that suggests she was raped. Two murder victims within days have to be connected. The striking similarity of the death of the doctor to that of another woman several years earlier lead Cardinal and Delorme to Quebec separatists and acts of terrorism from thirty years ago.
For someone from a climate as mild as Australia, the cold of a Canadian winter seems somewhat exotic. Salting the roads, ice storms, bears coming out of hibernation when there’s a warm snap, are all vividly depicted. Giles Blunt imparts a strong feeling of being connected to the community by the clever use of minor characters: there is WUDKY, the world's dumbest criminal; the veteran police officer returning from vacation and remembering a detail from an old case which helps create a lead in a current one and Cardinal's tetchy and fiercely independent father are just a few. Cardinal and Delorme with their different ethnic backgrounds, attitudes and histories also give THE DELICATE STORM a strong and distinctive Canadian flavour.
Blunt has created a mystery with a number of intriguing threads and combined it with interesting characters who pull you into the story and hold you there.
Giles Blunt grew up in Ontario. THE DELICATE STORM is the second of four books in the John Cardinal series. Blunt’s website is http://www.gilesblunt.com/