She Felt No Pain by Lou Allin. RendezVous Crime 2010.
Location. Location. Location. As with real estate, location can make a big difference to a story. Location was one of the aspects I enjoyed most about this light mystery from Lou Allin, set near Sooke, outside Victoria on Vancouver Island. She Felt No Pain is the second installment in her series featuring RCMP constable Holly Martin. I missed the introductory volume, and decided I’d start with the most recent title.
Constable Martin works with a small detachment where she is stationed with coworkers Ann and Chipper. Mostly, things are pretty quiet. However, summer brings an influx of tourists, drifters and homeless people to the region, and Holly finds a death investigation on her hands when the body of a homeless man is discovered in the forest. Drug paraphernalia found with the body suggests an overdose, but an autopsy reveals that a combination of heroin and a synthetic opiate was the cause of death. The discovery suggests there may be more to the event that was first suspected. As Holly begins to trace the background of the victim, she learns that he grew up in the area. Holly’s investigation gradually brings a long-hidden secret to light.
She Felt No Pain is a fun read, the sort of thing suggested as light summer fare. It’s easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The good guys are polite and say things like “The dirty rat, pardon my French…” of a petty thief. Even the bad guys aren’t too frightening. The story leads up to a rather dramatic conclusion which seems oddly overwrought for this otherwise mild tale. Still, I liked Holly and was interested in her own personal mystery. It seems her social worker mother disappeared suddenly on route to an assignment in a remote village a decade ago and Holly plans on investigating the now cold trail. I’ll keep an eye out for the next book in which, hopefully, Holly seeks answers about her Mom.
As a footnote, I liked the attractive cover design to this edition, which is by Emma Dolan.