This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I'm so glad I took her advice and read it.
Set in 1860’s Canada in the isolated settlement of Dover River, Mrs Ross, the central character and a woman with an interesting history that is very gradually revealed, finds the body of a brutally murdered neighbour. So, I know at the outset that I'm onto a good thing here, as I'm a great fan of murder mystery stories.
Inexplicably, Mrs Ross' seventeen-year-old adopted son, is apparently missing at precisely the same time. At first, his absence is presented as nothing unusual because he likes to fish. However, as the local investigation into the murder develops, his absence becomes more and more of a concern. Wanting only to clear her son's name, Mrs Ross sets out to find the killer of her neighbour herself.
With wonderfully flowing prose, this story meanders across time frames and various remote 19th century settlements in Canada. Thus, the setting becomes an integral and beautifully described backdrop to a gently paced murder-mystery. The harshness of the landscape, the difficulties of survival in such isolated trading posts and the tensions between Native Americans, the trading companies and the independent settlers all add to the intrigue and the final resolution of the case.