Finley Martin’s new novel, Killings at Little Rose, quickly spirals into darkness and intrigue as its plot twists into an ever-tighter knot, with writing that mines everything necessary in a mystery—a snooping private female investigator, the seamy underside of dark secrets washed ashore in a coastal village, eventual mayhem, and murder.
Anne Brown is the central character. A mother, widow and undercover private investigator, hired as an engineer to reduce the waste, property loss and vandalism affecting the profitability of the only seafood processing company, M Gauthier and Son’s, in Little Rose Harbour.
Martin has the sure hand of a natural storyteller as he makes his readers see, feel and understand the strength of his protagonist, Anne. As a rational detective, she holds her emotions in check while sifting through the local gossip, rumours and lies that envelop her work environment, outside relationships and eventually threaten her safety.
Through Anne, Martin gives the reader significant insight into the lobster fishing and processing industry with remarkably detailed narration. We crack into the lobsters, right beside Anne, as the beads of sweat drip down her forehead. The familiar sound of the women’s chitchat—centred on the old, secret remains of a baby discovered in a field—hums in the background before getting lost in the noise of machinery.
After digging up old family grudges, seedy relationships, hidden identities and legal shenanigans in the coastal town, Anne finds herself in hot water, and the tension builds from there.
Finley’s latest novel once again demonstrates his remarkably deft hand in crafting compelling stories of great intrigue.