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The Delicate Storm: A John Cardinal Mystery    by Giles Blunt order for
Delicate Storm
by Giles Blunt
Order:  USA  Can
Seal, 2004 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Delicate Storm follows Forty Words for Sorrow and Blackfly Season as the third in Giles Blunt's engaging series starring Northern Ontario police detective John Cardinal. Though Cardinal's wife Catherine is bipolar, often requiring periods of hospitalization, she's stable during this episode. It's his dad's health that worries the police officer this time, and he drags Stan Cardinal, protesting all the way, to see the new doctor in town.

On the job, Cardinal concentrates on the case of an American tourist, whose body parts have been dismembered and fed to the bears. The Mounties and - surprisingly - CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) are also following the case. The trail - once he's found his way out of a maze of falsehoods - leads Cardinal back to the 1970 October Crisis, when the FLQ (Front de libération du Québec) kidnapped a British diplomat and the Quebec Labour Minister (their names have been changed in the story). When the terrorists murdered the latter, the 'delicate storm of French-English relations' flared into very heavy weather indeed.

Lise Delorme catches another case - a missing person who turns up dead, and the victim's obsessive boyfriend is a Mountie. Interspersed with family concerns and the investigation, Cardinal collars (yet again) a bank robber he nicknames Wudky (WDC - World's Dumbest Criminal) for good reason. He gives the man a break, a charitable act that comes around again to rid Cardinal of a fear he's harbored for a long time.

And, as always in this series, Mother Nature makes herself felt, this time via an ice storm that really did devastate Eastern Canada several years ago - reading about it brought back memories of our own experiences sans heat and electricity. Giles Blunt cleverly pulls all these trailing plot threads together into another absorbing story, one that also reflects reality in not achieving full closure for the investigator.

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