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Erasing Memory by Scott Thornley

Erasing Memory, the first in the MacNeice Mystery series by Scott Thornley, was sitting in my “to read” pile for a year before I took it with me on a holiday this winter. My husband read it first, and liked it (like Mikey). And you will too. Some of this novel is set on Georgian Bay and we both noticed a particular scene set in a place that seemed very familiar to us - a place we thought we knew well.

Erasing Memory Cover.jpg

When I returned home I decided to find out if the scene I read about did take place where I suspected it did, so I contacted Scott Thornley. And yes, there is a scene set at the marina I have known for 27 years. I also discovered that the author used the same marina for many years, though we never met, we most likely crossed paths at the marina.

I think Scott Thornley has, wisely, played fast and loose with geography – the city where much of the action takes place is unmistakably Hamilton, Ontario – renamed Dundurn – but the rest of the book takes place at a beach house on a lake someplace in cottage country. As it turns out, our own bit of cottage country.

I would not ordinarily choose to read a mystery involving Eastern European politics and espionage but I was into this one before I realized what was behind the murder of a young musician. And by then it didn’t matter.

We first read about the murderer in a brief and chilling prologue. We then meet the detective, Detective Superintendent MacNeice, a man widowed for three years and still bereft. MacNeice is on his way home after visiting the grave of his late wife when he gets a call to attend the scene of a suspicious death. The victim is a talented and beautiful young musician, a recent graduate, ready to embark on what was expected to be a successful career as a violinist.

The murder took place at a beach house, on a lake not too far from the city where MacNeice lives and works. As the investigation unfolds we learn not only more about the young victim and her family but also about MacNeice and his team. I especially liked the female detective, Detective Inspector Fiza Aziz. There is a good working relationship between Aziz and her boss, and perhaps an attraction that I’m looking forward to following in the rest of the series.

The investigation, of course, involves everyone associated with the victim and her family. This murder may be a result of actions in the past involving Bulgarians and Romanians, very ruthless men indeed. Though the amount of violence and suspense made me a bit uncomfortable, it never lasts long before we are again following the trail that we hope will lead to the identity of the murderer, and the end of this particular investigation.

Then, on to the next MacNeice mystery, second in the series, Ambitious City.

Scott Thornley has accepted an invitation to return to Georgian Bay, so you can spend all summer reading this series, before meeting the author on Tuesday 10 September 2019 at Books & Beer at Trestle Brewing.


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