Valley of the Lost
A Molly Smith Mystery by Vicki Delany
Review: In the pastoral mountain village of Trafalgar, British Columbia, Detective Sergeant John Winters and probationary Constable Molly Smith investigate the suspicious death of a young mother in Valley of the Lost, the second mystery in this series by Vicki Delany.
Molly's mother, Lucky, actually found the young woman's body, chancing across it in the woods. Next to her lies a crying infant, a boy. Lucky, who operates the Trafalgar Women's Support Center, takes the boy under her care. His mother appears to have died of a heroin overdose. The autopsy reveals that she had indeed overdosed but there were also restraint marks on her wrists indicating that she may have been murdered. And most puzzling of all, she had never given birth. The infant boy could not be hers. Only the dead woman's roommate can actually identify her, but by her first name only — Ashley. She tells Winters and Smith Ashley had never revealed her last name. No one else in the small village will even admit remembering talking to her. How can they find the girl's family if they cannot identify her? Winters and Smith make tentative links to a psychologist who worked with Ashley to help her kick her drug habit but who suddenly denies having seen her recently, and a number of people associated with the development of a huge resort that may endanger the habitat of some local wildlife species. The connections between these are not clear, but one thing is certain: a baby boy is their only clue.
The contrast between the peaceful, seemingly idyllic community of Trafalgar and big money land development, drug trade, and murder form the foundation for this riveting mystery. The author effectively integrates an engrossing whodunit within a social commentary on small town life. Her observations ring true primarily due to the credible characters she has created. The intricate, well thought out plot also helps, and will keep readers guessing until the surprise ending. Valley of the Lost is an impressive sequel to the first book in the series and is highly recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Valley of the Lost.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Valley of the Lost for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
In the Shadow of the Glacier
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), October 2007
ISBN-13: 9781590584484; ISBN-10: 1590584481
Winter of Secrets
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), November 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586761; ISBN-10: 159058676X
Location(s) referenced in Valley of the Lost: Trafalgar, British Columbia
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Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany — A Molly Smith Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: February 2009
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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