cover image Purple Palette for Murder

Purple Palette for Murder

R.J. Harlick. Dundurn (IPS, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $17.99 trade paper

The action-packed eighth installment of Harlick’s Meg Harris series sends Meg, still traumatized by the violence she experienced as a hostage in the last book (A Cold White Death), rushing from her home in the wilds of Quebec to the Northwest Territories. Her husband, Eric, the newly elected grand chief of the Grand Council of First Nations, has been arrested for the murder of his daughter’s boyfriend, Frank. Teht’aa, his daughter, lies in a hospital, nearly beaten to death and in a coma. Although Eric had gone to the Northwest Territories to help his daughter escape Frank’s abuse, Meg doesn’t believe he could have killed anyone and sets out to find out what really happened to prove his innocence. Discovering that Teht’aa’s apartment has been robbed and her laptop stolen is her first clue that this all might have more to do with Teht’aa’s work as a journalist and a diamond mine than a jealous boyfriend, but there are many twists and turns on a trail that eventually takes Meg on a search through the wilderness and into the path of a forest fire. Harlick has situated previous mysteries in different First Nations communities, and this one explores the culture of the Tlicho First Nation, who are part of the Dene people. The story also delves into social issues such as the tragic legacy of Indian Residential Schools. Harlick has skillfully constructed a puzzle that draws in readers and keeps them guessing. (Nov.)