The Singing of the Dead: A Kate Shugak Novel
Minotaur, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, e-Book
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he author gives an interesting twist to this story, by using the increasingly popular ploy of a parallel historical tale. In this case it's the story of
, born in France as Léonie Angélique Josephine Beauchamp. It begins '
She walked out on stage wrapped in fifty yards of sheer white chiffon, a pair of high-heeled shoes with jeweled buckles, and nothing else
.' Angel auctions her services in 1897 Dawson City for thirty thousand dollars, and the readers follows the rest of her life through continuing excerpts interspersed with the modern murder mystery.
n the latter, Kate is inveigled by Jim Chopin into taking on the job of safeguarding Anne Gordaoff, who is running for Alaska State Senator. Someone has been sending threatening notes and Anne's campaign manager Darlene (an old enemy of Kate's) is getting frantic. Two (almost three) murders follow, as links start to emerge between the old tale and the new. Kate still grieves for Jack and now has his son Johnny on her hands. He has repeatedly run away from his mother and is determined (with a stubbornness akin to Kate's own) to remain in Alaska. Kate arranges for him to stay with an old flame and neighbor Ethan.
his creates an interesting triangle between Kate, Ethan and Jim, though she still fights hard against her attraction to the State Trooper. All Kate's old friends rally around her in this story (after her disappearance to Bering in
Midnight Come Again
) and her best friend and companion Mutt is also in the middle of the action. Though there is a familiarity to books in this series, Stabenow manages to add some new angle each time, and to sketch in more of Alaska's history and scenic beauty for her readers to enjoy. In
The Singing of the Dead
she gives us yet another absorbing read, with the potential of two romantic interests for her heroine and a delightful surprise on the last page. Don't miss it.
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