My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
In Shaded Light I felt like I was reading a game of Clue. Author J. A. Menzies (the new ebook edition is published under the author’s pseudonym; original edition under N. J. Lindquist) sets up the game board and player pieces in the first part of the book as members, wives and various hangers-on of the Toronto law firm Brodie, Fischer & Martin meet for a relaxing weekend at the lavish new home of senior partner George Brodie and his wife Ellen. The cast of characters is large. Menzies delves into the past and present of each just enough to get us caring for them but not to the point of distraction. (The Kindle edition I read had a linked table of contents which included a list of characters—most helpful in keeping everyone straight through the information-heavy first part of the book.)
Once the body is found the glue of the series, middle-aged investigator Paul Manziuk and his rookie partner Jacqueline Ryan arrive on the scene. They bring with them their own goals and issues.
The questioning of each potential perpetrator (basically everybody, for everyone is a suspect) and the reaction of the cops to each other kept me busy as I tried to figure out who did it and worried these investigators wouldn’t be able to get past their own sensitivities to solve the crime before another redhead got knocked off. Provisional solutions kept me occupied till Menzies’ investigators solved the crime and all the other loose ends got tidied away at the very end of the book.
Though most of the characters have a pleasure-seeking, self-absorbed outlook (fueled by lots of alcohol) one character, Lorry Preston, lives her life as a committed Christian. She acquits herself well and makes the book a worthwhile read for the mystery lover who enjoys a serving of faith alongside generous helpings of intrigue and red herring.
Shaded Light and a second book in the Manziuk & Ryan mystery series—Glitter of Diamonds—are available as ebook downloads from J. A. Menzies’ website and as Kindle editions on Amazon.