- Historical cozy mystery
- Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (2003)
It's 1836 and Ensign Marc Edwards, of His Majesty's 24th Regiment of Foot, is eager for some adventure and intrigue. Unfortunately he's been posted to the colonial backwater of Toronto, Upper Canada.
But Marc soon learns that the local population is openly chafing under British Rule, and the surrounding countryside turns out to be a seething hotbed of radicals, Reformers, Yankees and smugglers.
Ensign Edwards is given his very first assignment, to investigate the mysterious death of Crown secret agent Joshua Smallman. Marc goes undercover in the small town of Crawford's Corners, wading into rumours of sedition and secret societies. He quickly finds another kind of action, seduced by one farmer's wife, and entranced by another who is just a little too close to the murder for comfort, Edwards' investigative skills and his loyalty to the Crown are put to the test.
I was very excited when I came across this book for several reasons. First, I love this period in history and there are so few novels from this period that aren't romances. Second, instead of the usual British setting for this period, it's set in "Upper Canada" (aka Ontario). There is a completely new feel to the period having it set on a different continent.
This book did not disappoint me at all. At first, I didn't think I'd like Marc Edwards. He was too anal for anyone to like. Or, so I thought. It wasn't very long before I enjoyed that about him, watching him pay attention to small details, hoping that he could solve the murder and get back to the city and civilized life.
I liked how he didn't sleep with every single woman in the book, nor did every woman in the book want to sleep with him. From a historical perspective, the author does an outstanding job presenting the typical solider's like and contrasting it against Marc's, which was out of place, but not too strangely so.
Many mysteries I've read tries to make everyone seem innocent. In this book, they were all just a bit tainted. Just like in life. We all have little secrets we keep, and the book does an outstanding job developing the secondary characters through their little secrets.
Even though the book is a Canadian historical mystery, it's well-written and explained enough that anyone could read it. I highly recommend this novel.