22 September 2011

Review: ACTS OF MURDER, Laurali R. Wright

  • Published by Scribner 1997
  • 278 pages
  • ISBN 0-684-81381-5
  • Source: my local library
Publisher's blurb

Canada's award-winning "queen of crime fiction" is back with Acts of Murder, the ninth title in the acclaimed Karl Alberg series.

Mrs. O'Hara had heard nothing, has thought her husband Tom was out. She looked up quickly, stumbling in her shock, and her hand flew from the railing as she lost her balance. Tom was standing directly beneath the light...behind him, slightly shorter than he, huddled against his back like a shadow, was a white specter with long hair...

The sleepy Sunshine Coast town of Sechelt, B.C., is once again beset by crime and only Karl Alberg can solve the mystery. Three people have been found murdered, by someone known as "the avenging Angel," a killer who has assumed the responsibility of ridding the village of those who sin, those who betray.

This latest case also brings with it some life-changing surprises for Alberg and his love, Cassandra Mitchell. But theirs are only two of the lives that will be irreparably changed by the murderous activities of an angel straight from hell.

With the help of his striking new sergeant, Edwina Henderson, Alberg must race against time to prevent the killer from claiming another victim.

My take

This is the first book that I have read by Laurali R. Wright, and I had no idea, as I was reading, that ACTS OF MURDER was in fact the last in a quite long series.
  • The Suspect (1985)
  • Sleep While I Sing (1986)
  • A Chill Rain in January (1990)
  • Fall From Grace (1991)
  • Prized Possessions (1993)
  • A Touch of Panic (1994)
  • Mother Love (1995)
  • Strangers Among Us (1996)
  • Acts of Murder (1997)
Mrs O'Hara's epiphany takes place in 1985. After her fall down the stairs she becomes convinced she will die near her 65th birthday - most of her immediate family have - and she sets herself the task of sweeping the world clean of people who have done injury to others.  Just how many she swept aside and how she did it I will leave you to find out from the novel. The amazing thing is that no-one saw the connection between the murders for nearly ten years, until a teenager and a young woman are discovered to be in adjacent graves, and killed by the same methods. Some of the murders go entirely undetected.

For a while I wasn't sure whether there was one murderer at work or two.

Karl Alberg, local police chief, has a sort of an epiphany too, as he realises there may be something he can do outside the RCMP.

Until I got into the heart of ACTS OF MURDER I felt as if I was doing mental gymnastics as we jumped backwards and forwards between time frames. In the long run it was a satisfying read, and everything came together nicely, but for a while I had my doubts that it would. I'm not sure, having read the last in the series, whether I will go back and read any of the others, although L.R. Wright won the Edgar for Best First Novel for THE SUSPECT in 1986.

In a sense the series does continue with two Edwina Henderson novels.
  • Kidnap (2000)
  • Menace (2001)
My rating: 4.4

Other reviews and items to check
About the author
Winner 2001 Arthur Ellis Award (The Derrick Murdoch Award for Lifetime Achievement), L R Wright died of breast cancer also in 2001.

1 comment:

kathy d. said...

I have not read this book, but have read the first three books in the series, republished by Felony & Mayhem Press.

The rest are out of print until Felony & Mayhem republishes them.

I liked The Suspect very much, which as you say, won an award. It was up against a book by Ruth Rendell, so it must have been good to win.

That sent me to read the next two, which were o.k.


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