The Storm Murders by John Farrow is the first procedural thriller in a planned trilogy featuring the retired Montreal detective Emile Cinq-Mars (available May 26, 2015).
Who was it that said the colder the climate, the more are the mysteries? Montreal, Canada sits at a latitude south of Paris while those Nordic cities many consider a current hub of crime fiction lie more than fifteen degrees further north. Yet southern Canada generates its share of good reads. Louise Penny and Alan Bradley are just two of the Canadian authors well known south of the border. Playwright and novelist Trevor Ferguson may come less often to mind, possibly because several of his novels appear under nom de plume John Farrow. His latest novel under Farrow’s name, The Storm Murders, is the first in a new trilogy featuring Émile Cinq-Mars, his recently retired Montreal city detective.
There is no mistaking this book for one of its Nordic cousins, however, despite the snow and cold that open the story. Its Canadian sensibility is as much a character within as the weather. Witness this exchange when Cinq-Mars encounters a thief in the jewelry store where he needs to drop off the requisite retirement watch for repair since it’s still under warranty:
“Hi, there,” he said.
“You old fuck, get out of my way,” sneered the thief, a belligerent, unwary lad.
Old. Cinq-Mars hoped the guy didn’t recognize him and therefore wasn’t submitting a comment on his retirement. Standing in the doorway of the slightly subterranean shop, a step up from the miscreant, his six-foot-three-inch frame towered above the imp who stood at a chubby five-seven. He could stare down the immensity of his impressive nose and assume that that would have an intimidating effect upon the man nervously, if defiantly, gazing up at him.
“How’re you doing?” he asked. From his pocket he withdrew a stick of gum—the miscreant flinched—casually unwrapped it, folded the stick in half to more easily drop it into his mouth, and did so. “My name’s Émile Cinq-Mars. What’s yours?”