Murderous Morning, the latest novel from author Bernadette Calonego, is not your average whodunit. The book is a complex examination of how tragedy affects everyone in a small, isolated town. A man is shot in the yard of his remote cabin and his three small children are also slaughtered, presumably because they witnessed their father’s killing. Their mother, Fran, has disappeared.
The fictional Whatou Lake in northern B.C. is a land of grizzly bears, Sitklat’l First Nation and wilderness dwellers. Tessa Griffins, a Vancouver lawyer, flies to Whatou Lake to be with her shocked parents because Fran is Tessa’s stepsister and a search is underway. But to Tessa’s discomfort, she finds she is no longer welcome in her hometown.
When an RCMP detective arrives from Vancouver, his suspicion falls on each suspect. How is it that Tessa’s ex-boyfriend, Tsaytis, was the one who found the bodies? Who put the blood-soaked jacket on the same beach where a girl lost her life? Who is the mysterious Telford? Tessa is caught up in a pall of mistrust that affects everyone from the town’s mayor to the clothing boutique owner. The plot veers in every direction, drawing Tessa further into the mystery. Even the roving grizzly bear has a small part to play in the outcome.
Calonego is originally from Switzerland and writes in German though her previous novels (Stormy Cove, The Stranger on the Ice) are now in English translation. This translation was by University of British Columbia’s Peter and Rosa Stenberg. The author usually lives on the Sunshine Coast for six months of the year, but because of the pandemic she is braving a snowy winter in Newfoundland with her partner, a resident fisherman. It gives her time to research her next book set in Labrador (www.bernadettecalonego.com).
Murderous Morning is published by darkKanada on Amazon and is at Talewind Books in Sechelt.