Sunday, 1 August 2010

Sleep While I Sing by L.R.Wright

My second book set in BC in July, this time on the Sunshine Coast:  Sleep While I Sing is the second of the Karl Alberg mysteries. I couldn’t get the first here in the UK, but I don’t seem to have missed too much plot setting. I’ve gathered that Sergeant Alberg is an incomer to the area, a man who is contented with his lack of ambition, preferring to police a small community and get to know its members. In the first book he’s obviously been attracted to the local librarian, Cassandra, and she might have had a deeper relationship with him if not for the arrival of Roger Galbraith, an actor whose moment of glory (at least as far as the Sunshine Coast community is concerned) when he had a small part in the Rockford Files, a long-running American series which is still being shown in the afternoons, and which many readers will remember.  Roger is vain and shallow and not entirely nice, and it’s a bit hard to see why Cassandra likes him – he enjoys the company of women, though, and is attentive (you feel, as long as it suits him, at any rate; once he got bored he would be off like a shot).

A young woman has been found dead in a clearing off the highway, amongst the salal (which, thanks to last year’s reading, I know is the green, glossy foliage that florists use to set off their arrangements). Alberg’s first suspect is, naturally, the man who found her, who hasn’t been entirely forthcoming about reporting it. A history of some sort is clearly involved, but Alberg isn’t inclined to jump to conclusions, and his first concern is to get the an artist’s impression made so that the woman can be identified. Galbraith, too, comes under suspicion, creating tension between Karl and Cassandra.

The small-town atmosphere is well done – there’s a good deal of sitting around drinking coffee, and more talk than action. It rains a lot, which is how I remember the BC coast from my brief visit there. The plotting is good, and the suspense builds nicely to the end, and it is clear that there is lots of potential for both characters and settings to develop as the series continues. There seems to be a total of  11 books in this good solid, traditional murder mystery series , following first Alberg and then Eddie Henderson, his successor in Sechelt, written between 1985 and L.R. Wright’s death in 2001. 

4 comments:

  1. Though I'm not inclined to read alot of crime fiction, I quite like small-town atmosphere. My library should carry these, think I'll take a closer look. Great review, thanks!

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  2. Lucky you, Wanda - I'm having little success finding Canadian crime novels in the library, on the whole!

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  3. Thanks for this - I read crime fiction pretty much exclusively and have just joined the Canadian Book Challenge so need all the help I can get.

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  4. Tempting... I like small-town atmosphere too, maybe I should try to find this, although my TBR list is starting to become quite dramatic!

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