Inger Ash Wolfe’s A Door in the River is my first Hazel Micallef mystery, and at first I didn’t believe the person on Twitter who told me the series was disturbing. After all, I’ve read Stuart MacBride and Val McDermid, and at first glance, the mystery of a well-liked man being killed by a bee sting didn’t sound too horrific. The book doesn’t get quite as gruesome or horrific as MacBride and McDermid, but it does enter some pretty emotionally and psychologically intense territory.
The setting is Port Dundas, Ontario, and the heroine is a snappy, broody sixty-plus year old inspector who lives with her eighty eight year old mother. Hazel is sharp, has issues with authority, and is overall a great series character, but for me, it’s her mother who takes the spotlight. Cranky and a bit emo in this book, Hazel’s mother is hilarious and compelling, and I love seeing them interact with each other.
From a seemingly straightforward murder, Wolfe takes the mystery to a place that totally blindsided me. More than a surprise however, the story suddenly takes a much darker, more emotionally fraught tone, and the crime much more horrific.
A Door in the River is a good, solid mystery, and I like the surprise twist. It didn’t quite blow me away, and a few parts dragged, but Wolfe does pull at the heartstrings. His story is horrific, not because it’s gruesome or especially dark and twisty, but because the crime is horrible, and all too easily imagined in real life headlines.
It’s a good book, and worth reading particularly for Hazel and her mother.
Thank you to Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.