cover image My Darling Detective

My Darling Detective

Howard Norman. . Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-23610-3

Norman's (Next Life Might Be Kind) latest novel opens with Canadian Jacob Rigolet witnessing his mother, Nora, vandalize a famous World War II photograph at a Halifax art auction in 1977. Nora, having escaped from the Nova Scotia Rest Hospital, is subsequently arrested and interviewed by Jacob's fianc%C3%A9e, Halifax police detective Martha Crauchet. Martha's investigation reveals that Jacob's father is in the photo taken by Robert Capa on Apr. 20, 1945, in Leipzig, Germany%E2%80%94and was killed the next day. The investigation's real surprise, however, is the link it uncovers between Nora and Robert Emil, a Jew-hating Halifax cop and the prime suspect in two unsolved 1945 murders. Martha and her two detective partners reopen the cold cases, never suspecting how the connections will affect Jacob. Emil is still alive, as arrogant and shifty as ever, and after a tense police interrogation, arrest, and subsequent escape from custody, he vows to kill everyone involved in the case. The result is a scary stand-off in the Halifax public library. Jacob and Martha are delightful characters, young lovers unraveling a complex and very personal mystery. This is a crowd-pleasing old school mystery novel. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (Mar.)