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Pickle Me This

September 6, 2018

In Love with Lane Winslow

If you’ll recall, I did it wrong and read It Begins in Betrayal, by Iona Wishaw, last spring, having not yet read the previous three books in her Lane Winslow Mystery Series, but maybe it didn’t even matter, because I fell totally in love with the book, its characters, and Iona Wishaw’s fictional world, and the idea that I had three more books in the series to go back and discover was the very best news, and so I made this my summer project. So in June, I went back to the start and read A Killer in King’s Cove, about Lane Winslow’s arrival in the rural BC town after heartbreaking and dangerous experiences during World War Two, in which she’d served her country as a spy. But if quiet is what she’s seeking, Lane finds very little of it in her new life, where she is conspicuous as a young and very pretty woman who’s unattached and likes living alone. It doesn’t help either that dead bodies keep coming her way—and in the first book, it’s a body that’s washed up in her creek. When the local constabulary arrives, Lane herself becomes a suspect, her conspicuousness only underlined by the fact she cannot disclose much about her background and she seems to have an uncanny knowledge about things that are inappropriate for women to be concerning themselves with. And it’s here where Lane’s relationship with the dashing Inspector Darling is first sparked, but it takes until the end of Book 3 for both of them to realize and admit it.

I took Book 2, Death in a Darkening Mist, on vacation in July—body turns up in a hot springs, and there’s a whole Soviet spy plot—and it proved a most excellent companion. I read it very quickly, and continued to delight in the novel’s polish and smarts, and that the feminist threads I’d see in It Begins in Betrayal are woven all the way through. And finally, I read Book 3, An Old Cold Grave, this weekend, where the body turns up this time in a root cellar, and it’s a beautiful novel whose ties go back to British Home Children and their exploitation, but it’s also about women’s emancipation and independence from their fathers and husbands, and the terms under which Lane and Darling are going have a relationship—if one is finally going to happen.

So I’m all caught up, but it’s not over yet, oh no! Because this month A Sorrowful Sanctuary arrives, a mystery that explores Canada’s ties to Nazism, and I’ve read enough to know I’m probably good to have really high expectations. I’m looking forward to reading this one, and in the meantime, I’d encourage anyone—particularly those with a penchant for British cozy mysteries and detective fiction with excellent female characters—to pick up the preceding novels in the series. Iona Wishaw’s books have been the highlight of my reading year.

One thought on “In Love with Lane Winslow”

  1. Maia says:

    I am in love with her too! I discovered A Killer in King’s Cove in Galiano Island Books (a wonderful place that deserves a visit if you’re ever on the West Coast) this past March, and have happily puttered through the rest of the series as my library requests have come in. Am jealous of your advance reading copy of the latest!

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