Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: 1947 British Columbia, with flashbacks to the early 1900s and 1930s
***I received a copy of An Old, Cold Grave from the publisher, TouchWood Editions***
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Review: Another excellent mystery from Iona Whishaw! An Old, Cold Grave takes us back to British Columbia in the late 40s, and back into the world of the mysterious Lane Winslow and the town of King’s Cove. This entry deals almost entirely with a cold case, and reading this book really reminded me of how much I miss the television show Cold Case that was on awhile back. If you’re familiar with that television show at all, this book is somewhat similar in format. There are flashbacks to earlier times, so the reader gets a complete idea of what happened, as the timeline bounces between past and present. I really enjoy mysteries in this format, and as a result, loved An Old, Cold Grave.
The mystery is solid here, but it is on the sad side. There was a weight to this book that I didn’t feel in the previous installments, and that is fitting with the crime. Since the skeleton is discovered in the Hughes’s root cellar, we see a lot of Gladys and her daughters Mabel and Gwen (the daughters are in their fifties). These three are ever so much fun, and I was thrilled to spend more time with them. Gladys steals every scene she’s in, and I just really enjoyed reading about them.
“There’s no point in having the vapours. We need to do something. We’ll call Lane Winslow.”
Lane Winslow helps to solve the crime, and her and Inspector Darling have tension and chemistry. I really enjoyed reading their interactions with each other, and am reminded here that I like the amateur sleuth/official detective relationship trope (Sleuth Dates Cop) in mysteries when it’s done right, with true chemistry evident between the characters.
Lane leaned forward. “Here’s what I think,” she said. “I think people are going to die, but what matters is making sure their story is not lost. Every time you solve a crime, a murder, you recapture some of the story. This little girl has a story. You will find it out, and it will matter to someone.”
Besides the main cold case, there is a modern mystery of sorts involving a teenage girl who vandalizes a local sawmill. This plotline brings in gender roles, and the changing opportunities that young women had during this time period. I thought this side plot felt more cohesive with the main mystery than in previous books, and enjoyed this side mystery.
When they were all sitting, Gladys frowned at her daughters, a bite of chicken midway to her mouth. “What’s going on with you two? There’s atmosphere. I’m not keen on atmosphere at dinner.”
The historical aspect of this book talks about Home Children, and I think this is the first book I’ve read that talks about these children and what happened to them. I love how this series brings something new to my attention in every book. It’s why I love reading historical fiction, and why I love reading historical mysteries. I’ve got two more books in this series to read: Book four: It Begins In Betrayal, and Book Five: A Sorrowful Sanctuary, which releases in September, and I’m excited to see what’s next for the characters!
Bottom Line: Another excellent mystery in the Lane Winslow series!