Saturday, August 15, 2015
"Hungry Ghosts", by Peggy Blair
“Hungry Ghost” is my introduction to Canadian author Peggy Blair. Was I lost starting at this point?, yes at first, but it didn’t take too many chapters to place the missing pieces together, go with the flow and enjoy this light mystery, one rich in atmosphere and style.
The storyline has three threads:
It begins in Havana with Inspector Ricardo Raminez investigating vandalism at a local museum. The chapters describing the heist are exciting with lots of actions and suspense but things soon peters out and we find ourselves following Ricardo on other crimes involving dead prostitutes. This switching of theme in the second thread brings a bit of confusion and to boot victims’ ghost appearing at Ricardo’s side out of the blue, advising him of impending deaths becomes fast an irritant. The added ghostly touch can be easily omitted and this would not affect any way, shape or form the development of this story. In alternate chapters the third thread brings us to Canada, on a First nation reserve in Northern Ontario with aboriginal detective Charlie Pike on a case of a murder victim whose death may be linked to a serial killer.
When the heist and the whodunits come together the elements of the mystery hold up pretty well. We have terrific characters in both Raminez and Pike doing what they do best in their isolated locations: one in the non-touristy Cuba and the other in impoverished Canadian wilderness. This book is a good read, carefully constructed, complex in many ways and layered with humour. The narrative is outstanding and the dialogue between players highlights the author’s expertise in the art of interrogation and shows how knowledgeable she is in the Aboriginal culture and ways of life.
“Hungry Ghosts” is a gritty and a chilling read of two detectives against an international serial killer