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Book Review: Valley of the Lost

Reviewed By: Caryn St. Clair

[4 stars]

Valley of the Lost     Amazon US TPB Amazon US HC Amazon Canada TPB Amazon Canada HC
Vicki Delany
Class/Genre:   Mystery   Woman Main Character   Police Procedural
Series: Constable Molly Smith # 2
Poisoned Pen Press

When Lucky Smith finds an infant boy near the body of a young woman her life and the life of her family is turned upside down. That her daughter is Constable Molly Smith of the Trafalgar, British Columbia police department further complicates things. When the body of the unidentified woman is taken away, Lucky assumes care for the baby boy and goes to great lengths to prevent his being transferred to the Department of Child Welfare. Her refusal to relinquish the baby puts Lucky at odds with the police department, but something about the social worker rubs Lucky wrong. So in spite of the fact that sleep is a thing of the past in the Smith home and Lucky's part of the family business is neglected, the baby stays in the Smith home. That baby's identity turns out to be the key to the entire book.

Valley of the Lost is the second Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters mystery. However, in this book, author Delany allows the unconventional Lucky Smith to steal the show. Certainly Molly and John are the investigating team, but hands down this is Lucky's book. In my opinion, that's a good thing. Like many Americans, Andy and Lucky Smith moved to the small Canadian town so that Andy could avoid Viet Nam. Through the years, they've turned more conventional, but at heart, Lucky will always be the war demonstrating hippie she was in the 1960s. That she spends long hours volunteering that the Trafalgar Women's Support Shelter is the most natural thing in the world. And it is through her shelter work that information about the dead woman come to light.

While the series is set in British Columbia, it's only the fact that many American draft dodgers fled to that part of Canada to avoid Viet Nam that comes into play in this book. Trafalgar being a small town is much more important than where Trafalgar is located. However, the presence of the 1960s draft refugees from the United States does play a role. It is their presence with their liberal leanings, that allow for the influx of young people into an otherwise out of the way close knit community. These kids some with drug habits, some with infants but all on the run, who show up in Trafalgar bring into the community problems that are necessarily welcomed. Outsiders are noticed, their behavior is noted and while some may be welcomed, it's not without some suspicions. Those persons noticed, the behavior noted and the suspicions held all help lead to a very satisfying conclusion.

Caryn St. Clair

Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Caryn St. Clair

Please Note: Books reviewed are usually provided by the publisher, author, or an agent. Reviewers usually get to keep the book.

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