Memories are Murder is the fifth book in Lou Allin's Belle Palmer Mystery series. Belle Palmer is a realtor in Sudbury, Ontario, the Nickel Capital. So, it only makes sense that Gary Myers would call on Belle when he comes to town looking to rent a house while he studies the behavior of elk in the wilds of Ontario. The clincher, though, is the fact that Gary also happens to be Belle's former high school boyfriend.
In addition to the appearance of Gary, Belle's partner Miriam is called away to care for her ex-husband Jack, and a very pregnant Yolanda "Yoyo" Hourtovenko is filling in for Miriam. So when Gary turns up dead, his partner is nearly asphyxiated and Belle has her own life threatened, Belle starts to wonder what could possibly happen next.
This is my first Belle Palmer novel, and I have to say that Allin does a great job with her characters. Belle isn't your average amateur sleuth. She's set in her ways and can be a little on the crotchety side at times. But I was grinning ear to ear when Belle told her teen-age friend after a low-life litter-bug started spewing profanity:
"'I'm sure you've heard worse, but it's so ordinary, ' Belle said. 'Shakespeare made swearing a fine art. Away, you cut-purse rascal. You mouldy rogue. You filthy bung.' She shook her fist at Joey, who scowled and squinted at a foreign language."
Yoyo is anything but stereotypical. She, too, is rather willful and at times that makes her absolutely hysterical. Yoyo is completely her own person and she doesn't feel the need to justify herself to anyone, so often Belle learns about Yoyo's extraordinary circumstances from anyone BUT Yoyo. While Belle and Yoyo can at times appear as opposites, they share a great deal of similarities, especially in their strong wills.
The rural Canadian setting was perfect for the zoological aspects inter-weaved into the plot. So, the plot and the setting naturally fit together; there was no forced feeling to the story. I actually couldn't help but think of Margaret Maron as I read. I think fans of Maron's would also enjoy the Belle Palmer series.
Even though this was the fifth book in the Belle Palmer series, and I'd not read any of the others, I didn't have any trouble following along. So you can read this series in any order and still achieve the full effect of the book.
Memories are Murder was published in 2007 by RendezVous Crimes. ISBN: 978-1-894917-33-9