Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy

Darkness at the Stroke of Noon by Dennis Richard Murphy

RCMP Sergeant Booker Kennison is reassigned to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories from Ottawa where he conducted a review of corrupt RCMP officers. Shortly after arriving, he is put on a plane and sent to Victory Point, even further north and even more desolate, to solve two murders.

Victory Point is the site of an archeological dig site trying to find proof that Franklin and British nationals sailed through the Northwest Passage. Such findings could compromise Canadian arctic sovereignty, which is why ex-FBI agent Ruby Cruz is sent up there. Cruz's employers believe that their sponsored scientist, who is now dead, found a journal to prove this fact. In a desolate, dark, frigid environment Kennison must determine what exactly happened.

This book is very relevant, as Canadians have concerns about arctic sovereignty, which has been questioned by other nations in the not too distant past. It's also incredibly rare for mysteries to be written in Canada, let alone in our territories. I really enjoyed how the landscape became a character in the novel. There are some things in this novel that only Canadians will get (Tim Hortons addiction, Canadian Tire vs. Wal Mart).

The plot, however, deserves some criticism. Parts of it were completely unnecessary and were left unresolved at the end of the book. Kennison is targeted because of the work he did previously in Ottawa, exposing corrupt RCMP officials. Once he is targeted, that's all we heard about this plot line. Where is the resolution? I also think there would have been enough mystery without the involvement of the rebel Inuit group the Turqavik.

Finally, it would have been nice if included at the front of the book was a map of Franklin's arctic expedition. I'm sure many readers won't have an in-depth understanding of the geography of the Canadian north, so this would help them picture how remote the area is.

View at Chapters

First Line: "The paper is frail, pages more by custom than constitution."




jkm said...

There are tag ends and a handful of potential carry-forward characters to form a sequel which was already in the works at the time of Dennis Murphy's untimely death, just before the publication of "Darkness at the Stroke of Noon" in 2008.

jkm said...
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