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The Bone Seeker: An Edie Kiglatuk Mystery    by M. J. McGrath order for
Bone Seeker
by M. J. McGrath
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

M. J. McGrath's The Bone Seeker is her third (following White Heat and The Boy in the Snow) in her series starring Canadian High Arctic native Edie Kiglatuk.

As the story begins, Edie has taken a summer job (recommended by her friend Sergeant Derek Palliser, who shared her previous adventure) as a teacher in Kuujuaq, seventy kilometers east of her home town of Autisaq. Edie has been spending a lot of her spare time with a qalunaat (white guy), Chip Muloon, who is there working on 'long-term health outcomes among High Arctic populations'. Her ex-stepson, Willa Inukpuk, is nearby at a rappel training camp.

Edie has become especially fond of an Inuit student, Martha Salliaq, and sees her last one Friday afternoon in late July. She has an uneasy dream about her student. Then Martha's body is found in Lake Turngaluk, the Lake of Bad Spirits. Martha's father Charlie is an activist, working with lawyer Sonia Gutierrez to lobby 'the Defence Department to cede land at a Cold War era Distant Early Warning radar station' back to the local people.

Derek enlists Edie's help with the investigation. She learns that Willa knew Martha, but keeps it from Derek. Locals believe the perps must be soldiers from nearby Camp Nanook, and soon evidence emerges that points to two of them. But why are officials so anxious to close the case? There are more deaths and disappearances. Sonia finds a disturbing anomaly in an environmental impact report. And gradually a different picture emerges, one that the Defence Department will go to great lengths to keep secret.

At the back of the book is an author commentary on the relationship between her mystery and true events. I enjoy this series for its exotic locations and for Edie's reactions to qalunaat culture, even more than for the mysteries themselves.

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