Sgt. Winston Windflower — starring Adam Beach in my noggin — has been stationed at the RCMP detachment in Grand Bank ever since he came to Newfoundland five books ago.
In “A Tangled Web,” (Baico Publishing), the sixth Sgt. Windflower adventure, he’s still there.
And you know what? I’m still having trouble not thinking of him as Sgt. “Wildflower.”
To complicate matters, the book I read immediately before “A Tangled Web” was a Drew Barrymore memoir called … get this! … “Wildflower.”
Imagine how many times I tripped over Wince’s surname as I read “Tangled Web.” More than 10.
An Amber Alert issued for Sarah Quilan is the story’s initial crisis. Sarah may have fallen in a Grand Bank brook and been carried out to sea. Or she may have been abducted.
Listen. Don’t worry too much about Sarah. She’s accidently barred in the back of a truck heading for the Argentia ferry.
On the other hand, the truck driver — Solly Flynn — is a wanted killer, so I suppose you should worry.
That’s all I’m saying for now because it’s time for a lunch.
I’m back; belly full.
The characters in this gem-dandy “Windflower” series eat more than the crowd at Bob Cratchit’s Christmas dinner.
I know I’ve remarked on this point before and I promise not to do so again — unless I forget. You can’t banish a man for breaking a promise he doesn’t remember, eh b’ys?
Not that they’ve forgotten Sarah, but Sgt. Wild ... frig! … Windflower and his colleagues are gathered at the Mug-Up having a … well, you know.
Corporal Eddie Tizzard, noted for his bottomless stomach, tells of “some chickpea thing” he had to eat while recently visiting his honey in Ottawa. He admits he had to poke it down.
I bet I know what he ate — hummus!
Some people love its taste. Not Eddie.
Sure, some people love the taste of pease pudding. Not this scribbler.
I was wrong to say you shouldn’t worry about Sarah Quinlan. As it turns out, she’s in the clutches of a known killer. Also, a dead body is discovered at Goobies, a popular truck stop where Solly Flynn stops for a … well, for a lunch.
Let’s see. Sarah is missing. Solly Flynn is a trucker-slash-murderer. This seem to be enough on Sgt. Wild … frig! ... Windflower’s — dare I say it? — on Windflower’s plate.
Of course, it isn’t.
Before long, Sgt. Windflower learns that Brent Quinlan, Sarah’s father, has been discovered dead in a snowbank.
The plot thickens, to quote a phrase.
Sgt. Wild … frig! frig! double frig! … Windflower is a Cree from Pink Lake, Alberta — which is why Saulteaux actor Adam Beach fits perfectly playing him in my noggin.
From his Cree relatives — Uncle Frank and Auntie Marie — Windflower has learned much about the mysteriousness of dream weaving, ability he has inherited.
As a dream weaver Sgt. Windflower can — in dreams at least — communicate with animals.
Moose, for instance.
Speaking of moose, see this line from “A Tangled Web”: “The moose is a powerful symbol in many cultures. It is known to be a source of wisdom and longevity. It also represents the powerful side of feminine energy.”
An aside: The contents of this quotation might be something to keep in mind the next time you see one of those luggage-faced bloody nuisances standing among the alders.
In the book, Sgt. Wil…ha! ... Windflower, talks to a spirit moose who, in a vague, spirit moose way, cautions him about the possibility of future bloodshed.
“Tell me what you see,” says Sgt. Windflower.
“I see two paths,” says the moose. “But there are no tracks on them yet.”
Wise or not, that answer would make you say a bad word, eh b’ys?
Anyway… eventually Corporal Tizzard — Mountie on the trail of his man, so to speak — is in Lark Harbour closing in on an armed felon.
The plot continues to thicken to the consistency of moose stew at the Mug-Up. Before the story ends, before the tangled web is completely spun, a Grand Bank man is found dead on his kitchen floor with a butcher knife in his chest.
“A Tangled Web” is the finest kind of a mystery novel. It will entertain you in your Lay-Z-Boy or — as is the case with Stg. Windflower at one point — stogged in a snowdrift halfway down the Burin Peninsular Highway.
Thank you for reading.
— Harold Walters lives Happily Ever After in Dunville, in the only Canadian province with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.