Thursday, February 28, 2019

Among the Departed by Vicki Delany

First Line: "I hate you."

Constable Molly Smith has a personal connection to a case concerning the remains of a missing person found on a mountain outside of Trafalgar, British Columbia. Fifteen years ago, she had a sleepover at her best friend's house. The next morning, Molly's mother picked her up, and shortly afterward her best friend's father went for a walk and never came back. Are the recently discovered remains those of Brian Nowak?

A tentative identification is enough for Sergeant John Winters to re-open the investigation. What he finds is sobering. The Nowak family is shattered beyond recognition. Having fallen out of touch with her friend, Molly is shocked by the changes in the family, too. But while Winters and Smith dig through the old case, one of the Nowaks has brought a brand-new threat to the small Canadian community of Trafalgar.

I'm probably the type of reader that drives some authors wild. I'll find a mystery series that I really like and instead of keeping current with it, I'll save it for when I need a 100% guaranteed good read. Vicki Delany's Constable Molly Smith series is one on that special list. The writing is so good that it doesn't matter how long I go between books, I always know exactly where I am in the lives of the characters. Well, I needed a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool good read, so I picked up Among the Departed, the fifth book in the Constable Molly Smith series. I wasn't disappointed. (Hey, that's why this series is on my list!)

From the crackerjack opening involving a lost child, the pace never falters. Once you start learning about the characters involved in the investigation, it's not difficult to piece together whodunit. The real question is how was it done, and Delany certainly knows how to keep us guessing while she advances the lives of her main characters.

Molly and her mother are still grieving over the loss of someone dear to them, but the two women are going through the process in different ways-- which definitely suits police officer Molly and her tie-dye Hippie mother, Lucky. Another interesting character is John Winters' wife who is an aging fashion model. Not only is the marriage a weird pairing-- police officer and high fashion model-- the beautiful Mrs. Winters is turning into a much more delineated character than I'd originally expected. Readers are treated to the daily lives of police officers and, in addition, how a model's life changes once she begins to age. Plus, what's happened to each member of the Nowak family is quite sobering.

Yes indeed. Delany has created a series with a perfect setting, strong stories, and memorable characters. As I was reading Among the Departed, I kept getting the nagging feeling that this series reminded me of another author's. Finally, it came to me: Elly Griffiths and her Dr. Ruth Galloway mysteries. Does that make some of you sit up and take notice? Good! I'd hate for you to miss out on some fine reading.

Among the Departed by Vicki Delany
ISBN: 9781590588895
Poisoned Pen Press © 2011
Paperback, 277 pages

Police Procedural, #5 Constable Molly Smith mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from The Poisoned Pen.



  1. Thanks so much, Cathy. As you know, I've gone on to writing other things, but the Molly Smith books are still very dear to my heart.

    1. They are so good-- but then anything you turn your hand to is.

  2. I'm a fan of the Molly Smith series, too, Cathy. And for me, it's the character development as much as anything else. So I know what you mean about knowing where you are with them whenever you read.


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