Giles Blunt, Crime Machine, 2010.
The newest entry in Blunt’s Detective Cardinal mystery series does not disappoint: it’s a taught, well-plotted murder mystery. Despite some predictable plot twists (who’d have thought that the ignored cold case, the butt of so many jokes, would shed light on the main case—other than every intelligent reader?), the milieu of Algonquin Bay and the always enjoyable and, this time, following his wife’s murder, the especially vulnerable Detective Cardinal. The mysterious crime scene with the beheaded Russian furriers, possibly with a Mafia connection, combined with the clear signs of presence of another mysterious person at the crime scene ties in with local politics and marital discord, all lead to the reader’s enjoyment at Blunt’s deft handling of the multiple strands he weaves together. The challenging aspect of the book is the same issue as I had with Blackfly Season (two books back in the series): because Blunt gives us much of the criminal’s perspective, we see deep and peculiar brutalities and odd character studies that detract from the mystery but fail to add a significant thriller component. Despite this weakness in writing, I continue to enjoy Blunt’s books, and look forward to the next Cardinal outing.