Flush: an environmental mystery / Sky Curtis
Toronto: Inanna, c2017.
This is a mystery novel that's light on the mystery even though there is a murder; it's more interested in the way the crime changes the life of garden/lifestyle journalist Robin MacFarland.
After Robin is given the chance to cover a press conference by a hydro-energy company alongside her more hard-hitting colleague, she feels like her career is picking up. Coincidentally she also meets up for coffee with the company spokesperson a day later, after connecting on an online dating site.
Then he turns up dead.
Robin tries to figure out what is going on, hoping to be promoted to the crime desk via this story. She partners up with her best work friend Cindy (the actual crime reported) and gets up to all sorts of stake-out, suspect interrogation, investigative shenanigans.
She finds that although it doesn't come naturally, she's getting better at it... and her sense of intuition about people's characters & motivation is second to none. She makes some key guesses that end up leading to the solution, and that nearly get her killed.
It's a unique mystery, ranging all over its Toronto setting and incorporating both the world of journalism and police investigators. Robin is a middle-aged, stolid woman with a drinking problem, looking for love via online dating sites. She has body image issues and a bit of trauma from her married years. Yet she is a loyal friend and a curious person overall.
For me, though, this was a very light novel. I didn't really warm to Robin, partly because of her body issues. Right near the very beginning of the novel she is moaning about how fat and dumpy and ugly and old she is. It's a really over the top, lengthy rant. At the end of this dirge, she states how tall and how heavy she actually is in fact, and surprise, she is exactly the same size as me. So forgive me if I was annoyed with her from the start! Also, I can understand someone's unhappy but she is almost ridiculously fixated on her size and her drinking problem, which she never actually does anything about until the end of the book, when she just up and decides she will reduce her alcohol consumption. Oh if only it were that easy.
There were a few red herrings in the book that went nowhere, and a few revelations that would have helped the reader solve the mystery earlier if they'd been seeded in a bit sooner. So while it's not a perfect book, nor a perfect mystery, it did have some interesting side characters and a very complete Toronto setting. Worth reading for those aspects.