cover image It Begins in Betrayal

It Begins in Betrayal

Iona Whishaw. Touchwood (Heritage Group, dist), $16.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-77151-261-9

Whishaw’s fourth post-WWII Lane Winslow mystery (following An Old, Cold Grave) is flawed, but will nonetheless delight fans of the author’s prior work. This installment sees Winslow following the man she loves, Inspector Darling of the Nelson Police, back to London after he’s charged with the murder of a gunner under his command during the war. Lane must clear his name through her wartime spy connections—a world she worked desperately to leave behind. Though the plot and a second murder case in Nelson, B.C., prove overly simplistic, Winslow herself, modeled on the author’s own wartime spy mother, is (as always) the best thing about the series. Her portrayal somewhat mitigates the book’s flat characterizations, wooden dialogue, stereotypical queer characterizations and interactions, poor pacing, and a lack of racial diversity. The absence of any people of color in both British Columbia and the U.K. is noticeable, especially given the way racial diversity is at least present (if even it ranged from poorly handled to grossly stereotyped) in the mid-20th-century British works Whishaw’s novels emulate. As such, this is definitely a mixed bag, but one with an excellently crafted series protagonist. (May)