Hi there, guys and dolls! Already Thursday’s here. My goodness, I just got over Monday. With the next weekend almost upon us, it’s time for my Raves and Faves, and this week I’m so excited to talk about the Lane Winslow Mysteries by the clever, witty and all around talented Iona Whishaw.
You’ve got to feel for the main character, Lane Winslow. Poor thing, just wants to settle and relax in the boonies of beautiful backwoods British Columbia, but a gal can never escape her past (don’t I know it). Always catches up with you. Lane, however, has more of an intriguing than tawdry past (as opposed to mine, but that’s another story). Little known as common knowledge, Lane was a former British Intelligence Officer. The books start in 1946 as she gets reluctantly involved in international matters once again. And let’s not forget, there’s also the Inspector Darling (whom I personally think of as the Darling Inspector ;-)).
I love Lane. Who wouldn’t? Her instincts and training kick in again as she takes on the spy game with great cunning gusto. Plus, Iona’s a terrific storyteller and great writer to boot.
Here’s a list of her books in order. Just click on the titles to be taken to their Amazon links. Not only great weekend, but all the time reads. PS – Don’t you just love the covers?
It is 1946, and war-weary young ex-intelligence officer Lane Winslow leaves London to look for a fresh start. When she finds herself happily settled into a sleepy hamlet in the interior of British Columbia surrounded by a suitably eclectic cast of small-town characters she feels like she may finally be able to put her past to rest.
But then a body is discovered, the victim of murder, and although she works alongside the town’s inspectors Darling and Ames to discover who might have possibly have motivation to kill, she unknowingly casts doubt on herself. As the investigation reveals facts that she has desperately tried to keep a secret, it threatens to pull her into a vortex of even greater losses than the ones she has already endured.
After the turbulence of her first several weeks in King’s Cove, former British intelligence officer Lane Winslow wants nothing more than to finally settle into a nice, quiet life in her new community. But when the body of a Russian man is found at the local hot springs, Lane’s expertise—and remarkable linguistic abilities—prove to be invaluable to the case.
The investigation, led by Inspector Darling, points to the Soviet Union, where Stalin’s purges are eliminating enemies. Further evidence reveals that the reach of Stalin’s agents snakes all the way into a harmless Doukhobor community not far from King’s Cove. Lane’s complicated relationship with Darling is intensified by the perils of the case—and by the discovery of her father’s death during the war.
Even the smallest, most idyllic communities have dangerous secrets. When the Hughes ladies—King Cove’s favourite mere et filles–discover the skeletal remains of a child in their root cellar, everyone is shocked and gripped by difficult and painful questions. Who could the child be? Why were they not buried in the local cemetery? Has a murderer been living amongst them for decades?
Despite Lane’s desire to distance herself from her wartime career as British Intelligence, and the dashing Inspector Darling, she is recruited to aid in the decades-old cold case, tasked to discover all she can about the community around the time of the incident. But Lane’s instincts may be too good. When a sudden realization spurs her to act quickly—and without backup—she discovers more than she bargained for and finds herself in grave danger.
It’s been four years since Flight Lieutenant Darling and his crew were shot out of the sky, crash landing their Lancaster in a field behind enemy lines in occupied France. He lost two good men in that battle—two of millions of the war’s casualties—and spent the intervening years building a new life. But now a British government official has come to King’s Cove with questions about what happened that chaotic day, and to summon Darling to London for further investigation.
In a matter of days, Darling is arrested and charged with murder. Without hesitation, Lane makes her way to London, where she is told there is little hope of saving the man she loves. But she refuses to give up without a fight. Prepared to do anything for his release, Lane considers a dangerous proposal that could save Darling’s life—and endanger her own.
Lane Winslow is enjoying a perfect, sunny day at the lake when she spots a gravely injured young man drifting in a sinking rowboat. Hypothermic, bleeding, and soaked in icy water, he is unable to speak, leaving Lane at a loss. What series of events brought him to this grisly fate?
Darling and Ames are quick to pick up the case, but leads are few until Angela’s young son finds an unsettling clue on the beach—a bright red swastika lapel pin—that points to the National Unity Party of Canada. When the anonymous man succumbs to his injuries, Darling and Lane are thrown headlong into a murder investigation with ties to the old country.
A wedding is on the horizon for Lane Winslow and Inspector Darling. As one of the few Russian speakers in her community, Lane is obliged to act as translator and hostess for Countess Orlova, an elderly Russian woman who has tracked her missing brother to the Nelson area. Nelson PD investigates, but then the murder of a lone hunter in the hills above King’s Cove takes top priority.
Darling works the case with a Constable Oxley—a newcomer to the area, assigned in Constable Ames’ temporary absence—and a British agent contacts Lane to warn her to be on the lookout for a fleeing Russian defector. Bound by the Wartime Secrets Act, Lane is conflicted about keeping the information from Darling, especially when it begins to put a strain on their relationship.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.
Toodles, Barbara Jean