Read Silver Totem of Shame: A Meg Harris Mystery by R.J. Harlick Free Online
Book Title: Silver Totem of Shame: A Meg Harris Mystery|
The author of the book: R.J. Harlick
ISBN 13: 9781306549141
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.74 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1597 times
Reader ratings: 4.4
Edition: Dundurn Group
Date of issue: May 21st 2014
Read full description of the books:
Before discussing the merits of the book, SILVER TOTEM OF SHAME, the fact of the title must be addressed. Although the totem pole in question is indeed being carved to depict the shame that a long-ago chief brought to his tribe, the title made this a book that I would have been more comfortable carrying around with a plain paper cover, or perhaps if it were an e-book. The title seemed to herald some sort of potboiler, a style of book I am not used to reading. Fortunately, however, the book itself was not melodramatic, but rather a well plotted mystery built on Haida native underpinnings.
As the book opens, a young apprentice is beginning work on a new totem pole in the studio of famed carver, Ernest Paul. His work is interrupted by a killer and, as he lies dying on the floor of the studio, the totem pole is stolen and removed to Haida Gwaii, his ancestral home. Meg Harris and her new husband, Eric, are in a local museum when their guide, the young man’s girlfriend, hears of his death. It soon becomes clear that this same young man was the adopted son of Eric’s sister. Meg, Eric, and his sister, Chloe, all make a pilgrimage to Haida Gwaii to take part in a pole-raising ceremony honoring the new Chief, while allowing Chloe to scatter the ashes of her son on his homeland. When it turns out that the murderer is also on the island, their trip takes on a new purpose as the three search for the killer.
Throughout the book, Harlick weaves Haida culture with modern greed to make plausible multiple suspects. The details of the culture form a rich backdrop for events taking place as a new Chief takes power, moving the matriarchal influence from one clan to another on the island. Not only is Harlick’s writing about the native culture detailed and fascinating, but she brings similar life to the northern rain forest that forms the setting for much of the book. The reader can almost feel and hear the quiet dampness of moss-covered forest floors.
The richness of writing that brings the culture and the landscape to life overshadow the problems that Harlick encounters with dialogue. When interactions between the characters are filtered through Meg’s internal thoughts and feelings, those interactions form a seamless part of the storyline. However, in scenes that involve a good deal of conversation, the reader is jerked out of the book as stilted dialogue overlays the action. Fortunately, these scenes are infrequent, and the book as a whole is well written and rewarding.
In the end, the resolution makes sense and feels right given its cultural implications. It is helpful that the many different names for different characters are all sorted out as the book’s climax arrives, so that some of the confusion that obscured earlier plot developments falls away. This is the sixth of the Meg Harris books, which are set in the Canadian wilderness. It’s the second that I’ve read and enjoyed, the other being the fourth, ARCTIC BLUE DEATH. The books are worth reading for the sense of being transported to the wilderness alone.
This review first appeared at www.reviewingtheevidence.com.
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Read information about the authorCalled "queen of Canadian wilderness fiction", R.J. Harlick writes the acclaimed Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of Canada with an underlying native theme. There are currently seven books in the series with the eighth, Purple Palette for Murder, due out in October 2017.
The fourth book, Arctic Blue Death, was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best Novel award. Silver Totem of Shame was named one of the top ten summer crime fiction reads by the Globe & Mail and was a recommended beach read by the Seattle Public Library. Cold White Fear was a CBC recommended mystery read.
With Death's Golden Whisper, the first book in the Meg Harris mystery series, RJ introduces protagonist Meg Harris who has fled the urban frenzy of Toronto and her failed marriage to Three Deer Point, a remote wilderness property in West Quebec, that she inherited from her Great Aunt Agatha. She lives in a century old Victorian timber cottage perched on a granite point overlooking the black waters of Echo Lake. Her only neighbour is the reserve of the Fishhook Algonquins, or Migiskan Anishinabeg. She drinks a little too much and is afraid of the dark, yet her only companion in this remote cottage is her wimpy standard poodle, Sergei.
She has fled to this northern paradise to heal her bruised soul. But her sought after peace is invariably interrupted by injustice and murder. Unable to ignore it, Meg becomes enmeshed in a quagmire of murderous intrigue.
After travelling to Baffin Island in Arctic Blue Death, Meg decided that she would love to explore a different Canadian wilderness and visit with its native peoples in every other book. Silver Totem of Shame takes place in Vancouver and Haida Gwaii, the mystical islands of the Haida. Purple Palette for Murder has Meg flying to the Northwest Territories when her husband is charged with murder.
Though the story of each book can stand on its own, there is a backstory about Meg and other characters that evolves from book to book. So avid readers of mystery series might want to start with the first book, Death's Golden Whisper.
Harlick is a member and past president of Crime Writers of Canada and Capital Crime Writers. She is also a member of Sisters in Crime, The Writers Union of Canada and Quebec Writers Federation.
She is a regular panelists at such conferences as Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, and Malice Domestic. She also does many store signings and library readings. To check out her schedule visit her blog. http://rjharlick.blogspot.ca
RJ blogs every second Tuesday on Criminal Minds - http://7criminalminds.blogspot.ca.
Visit with RJ on Facebook -https://www.facebook.com/RJHarlick
and on her website - http://www.rjharlick.ca
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