The apparently accidental death of an inoffensive man everyone in Kehoe Glenn loved begins Ontario DI Hazel Micallef’s latest odyssey of crime.
The coroner’s report shows that hardware store owner Henry Wiest died of anaphylactic shock after being stung by a wasp in the parking lot of the Eagle Smoke and Souvenir shop. But why had Henry, a nonsmoker, parked there in the first place, and what was a wasp doing up at 11:00 p.m.? Perennially prickly Hazel (The Taken, 2010, etc.) isn’t satisfied with the official explanation, and she doesn’t care who knows it. In short order, the acting commanding officer of the Port Dundas Police Department has gone head-to-head with pathologist Calvin Brett, Cmdr. Ileanna LeJeune of the Queesik Bay Police Service and Superintendent Ray Greene, her former deputy and future boss. Between the colleagues who are determined to shut down her investigation or wrestle it away from her and her thankless attempts to get her even more irascible mother, Emily, proper medical care, Hazel is stretched so thin that DC James Wingate, packed off on a week’s enforced vacation, returns after two days and insists on working the case. And it’s a good thing he does, because Henry’s death is only the tip of the iceberg. Shortly after, his wife, Cathy, is attacked by the same person who killed Henry and who is on the way to wreak summary vengeance on a Gilchrist schoolteacher. A house painter who sometimes worked for Henry will follow him to the grave. And Wingate, gone undercover in a tribal casino on LeJeune’s territory, will follow a trail that will lead him directly to a door to hell.
Darkens steadily from its deceptively quiet opening to its wild and woolly climax. But it’s only the shocking epilogue that reveals Wolfe’s true subject as the murder of innocence.