Sunday, February 17, 2019

Blood of the North: Spoilerifc Review

Fair warning: This review contains several spoilers. Since the novel is not really a mystery in the truest sense (we know who the bad guys are and we know what they have done; I guess that means I get to count it as an inverted mystery), I've decided to give a more explicit run-down of the plot for my own records. There are few points that those interested in reading the novel might not want to know ahead of time...

Angus Murchie, son of a Scotch fur trader and an Indian woman, finds himself seeking justice in a white man's world. His father is killed by a rival trader and whiskey runner, Jacques LaRue. But the jury of white men choose to believe LaRue's protests of innocence and fabricated alibi over the truth spoken by Angus. Angus had promised his father (who suspected LaRue would try to murder him) that he would not kill LaRue himself--that he would let the law take care of him. When justice lets him down, Angus follows LaRue until he has a notebook full of white men and the solid evidences that see the trade convicted on the charge of murder--this time of the two Indians who supported the fabricated alibi. These Indians not only lied for him, but they were also responsible for the death of Miqua, an Indian who prevented their tribe from trading for liquer. We suspect (though we are not explicitly told) that Angus may have dispatched the two Indians himself (having not promised his father anything about any henchmen that LaRue may have hired) and allowed circumstantial evidence to convict LaRue. To his way of thinking, justice has been served--the men responsible for his father's murder have paid for their crimes as the law should have required in the first trial.

Once the trial is over, Angus sets about putting his father's affairs in order. He finds that Colin Murchie was a shrewd businessman and that he has left his son more wealth than anticipated. He has also left a parcel of land that becomes the target for an unscrupulous land dealer. Bradford Townsend has been sent to buy up land along the rive for a company looking to build a dam and create a power supply for the North--and he doesn't mind how much he underpays. He sees in Angus (a man who admits he knows little about business) and Jean McPherson (daughter of Colin Murchie's long-time friend and playmate to Angus in their young years) two easy marks for low-ball offers. Angus may not know much about business--but he knows enough to use Townsend's low opinion of him to advantage--selling at the low-end price, but keeping an "ace in the hole" with which to hold the man accountable later

This was a bit disappointing. I got it in the mystery section--but it is more adventure with a bit of revenge and romance thrown in for spice. Not a bad book. Just not what I was expecting. I do like Angus's sense of honor and how he repays the bad guys. His justice may be a little rough in the instance of his father's murder, but one does understand his point of view. I especially like how he uses Townsend's poor opinion of him to his advantage and forces the land dealer to give him what is due--and nothing more. He also makes sure they do right by Jean McPherson--even though he believes she still thinks of him as a "worthless half-breed." Of course, the two do work out their differences for a true "happily-ever-after" ending. ★★

It is worth noting that, despite appearances on the cover, our hero is NOT the Canadian Mountie. In fact, the Mountie doesn't figure much other than to help arrest LaRue when he needs arresting and to stand by as one of the few minions of the law who will take the word of a man with a native heritage as worth as much (or more) than that of a white man.

All Challenges Fulfilled: Mount TBR Challenge, Just the Facts, Calendar of Crime, Alphabet Soup Authors, PopSugar Challenge, Book Challenge, World at War, Cloak & Dagger, Print Only, Strictly Print Challenge, Outdo Yourself, How Many Books, Medical Examiner

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