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- Paperback: 288
- Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing (April 2022)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1988437822
- ISBN-13: 978-1988437828
Old habits die hard…
Sgt. Windflower tries his best to ease away from life as a Mountie, but the lure of an investigation is too hard to resist.
After a missing man turns up dead, Sgt. Windflower is pulled in to investigate. Meanwhile, the arrival of a group of unique foreign visitors during a snowstorm in Grand Bank offers up another mystery. Even with so much going on, Windflower can’t resist the enticement of a good meal and a trip to the island of Saint Pierre off the coast of Newfoundland.
But when things get rough, Windflower can always rely on Eddie Tizzard and the gang to have his back.
As always, Windflower’s wife Sheila and their daughters are beacons of love and support as he navigates dangerous waters.
Grand Bank beckons you to another great story in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.
Release Date: April 30, 2022
Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing
Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1988437828; 288 pages; $16.95; eBook $4.99: FREE Kindle Unlimited
Eddie Tizzard looked down at the three files on his desk. Three men, all in their early sixties, reported missing from their homes and families in Grand Bank. One, Cedric Skinner, was found floating at the far end of Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s. The other two, Paddy Slaney and Leo Broderick, were still missing.
He had just finished talking to Leo Broderick’s wife. She was doubly distraught, first by the unexplained absence of her husband, then by the death of Cedric Skinner and the disappearance of Paddy Slaney. “What’s going on?” she’d asked Tizzard. He had few answers for her or the other women in this small community on the southeast coast of Newfoundland.
“We’ll do everything we can,” he told Leo Broderick’s wife. But truthfully, right now, there wasn’t much anything he or anybody else could do to bring her husband back. He only hoped that it wasn’t too late.
Tizzard leaned back in his chair and looked out the window. There was snow on the ground and more falling by the hour. Nothing unusual there. February in Newfoundland at the easternmost tip of Canada was cold, wet, and snowy. What was unusual was the fact that this wasn’t his chair, and it wasn’t his office. He looked down and saw something else that was new: corporal’s stripes on his uniform. Two chevrons, to be exact, and an Acting Corporal title to go along with them.
He was acting head of the Grand Bank detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Mounties. He had been a corporal before but was demoted when he had an altercation with a superior officer. But now they needed him, so they gave him back his stripes, at least on a temporary basis until they figured things out. What caused all of this to unfold was the sudden resignation of his old boss, Sergeant Winston Windflower. That’s whose chair Tizzard was sitting in as he looked out at the snowy morning in Grand Bank.
Winston Windflower wasn’t looking out the window, nor was he thinking about Tizzard or the Mounties this morning. He and his co-worker, Levi Parsons, were nearly done refinishing the hardwood floors at the beautiful old B&B that Windflower and his wife Sheila Hillier owned and co-managed. Levi was a shy and quiet young man who had somehow built a friendship with the much older Windflower, and under his tutelage, had been working at the B&B for a couple of years now. He was even taking hotel and hospitality classes to learn the management skills he needed to help run the B&B.
But today the skills he needed were more of the manual labour type. They had already sanded and buffed the floors over the weekend, and now they were applying a new coat of stain. Tomorrow, they would start on the finish, and three coats of that later they would have perfect-looking hardwood floors to welcome their first dinner guests.
The B&B had been closed for over a year since the pandemic, and they were using this time, and Windflower had lots of it, to fix up the place before what they hoped would be a stellar tourist season. It had better be, thought Windflower. They would soon be without any steady income when his last few cheques from the RCMP dried up. Sheila had lots of business ideas cooking, but none were ready to provide them with the finances they would like to support their lifestyle and two small children.
Levi went off to clean their brushes while Windflower poured himself a coffee in the kitchen and walked upstairs. He went to the small veranda on the second floor and opened the doors. The cool, fresh air flooded in, aided by the ever-present wind. He stared out, past the lighthouse and what was left of downtown Grand Bank, into the vastness of the ocean. It always calmed him to have this view, and today was no exception. He paused for a few moments, gave thanks for the view and the beautiful day, and went downstairs.
He went out the back door of the B&B so as not to disturb the good work they had done so far on the hardwood floors. He was going to head home when he saw a familiar face waving at him from across the street. Herb Stoodley was the co-owner of the Mug-Up café, the best and only diner in Grand Bank. Herb and his wife Moira were also self-adopted grandparents to Windflower’s two children. Stella was a bright and curious five-year-old and Amelia Louise was a two-and-half-year-old whirlwind.
Herb and Windflower had hit it off from near the beginning when Windflower was first assigned to Grand Bank. They shared a love of the law, with Herb being a former Crown attorney, and under his tutelage Windflower was learning to share his love of classical music as well. The latest offering that Herb had provided was a version of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 recorded by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Windflower liked listening to classical music when he went on his weekly runs on Sunday morning with Amelia Louise on his back. This piece was perfect, thought Windflower as he thought about the swirling of the instruments and the haunting piano that pulled you back in.
“Morning, Herb,” said Windflower.
“How are ya, b’y?” asked Stoodley. “You bored yet?”
“The B&B is keeping me going right now,” said Windflower. “Although I have to say that it’s hard to drive past the office without stopping in. My car just naturally wants to turn into the parking lot.”
“It may be like that for a while,” said Herb. “How’s Sheila and the girls?”
“They’re all well,” said Windflower. “Sheila’s working on getting some financing for some of her projects, and the girls are great. Stella is getting figure skating lessons in Marystown, and Amelia Louise is as rambunctious as ever.”
“They’re both so much fun,” said Herb. “Moira is knitting new hats for them, but don’t tell them, it’s a surprise.”
“They love surprises,” said Windflower. “Anyway, I gotta run. Sheila needs the car to pick up some groceries. We’ll see you soon. Oh, and thanks for the Rachmaninoff.”
“Glad you liked it,” said Herb. “It’s one of my favourites. When you’re ready, I have another one for you.”
“Thanks, Herb,” said Windflower as he waved goodbye to Herb and drove slowly home. He paused by the RCMP detachment, just for a moment. It looked busy, he thought, with one car pulling in and another leaving. With a small pang of something that might be regret, he passed by and headed for home. Sheila and Amelia Louise were glad to see him. Sheila, especially. She kissed him on the cheek and took the car keys from his hand. “I’ll see you soon,” she said. “There’s soup on the stove.”
The other one who was pleased that he was home was Lady, his Collie and four-legged ally. There was another pet in the house, Molly the cat. But Molly did not move from her basket in the kitchen, even when Lady started her happy dance around Windflower and Amelia Louise. Windflower looked over at her once and thought he could see her peeking, but she gave no indication that she could care one way or another that the so-called master of the house was home.
She and Windflower had a like-hate relationship. He tried to like her, but she clearly showed him only disdain. “Never mind,” said Windflower, mostly to himself as he looked around at the random display of toys in the living room. He understood immediately why Sheila needed to get out. Fast. Amelia Louise was adorable, but she was also a nonstop Energizer Bunny. Before she could loop Windflower into her next game, he preempted her with an offer of soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
They went to the kitchen, and he lifted her up so she could see the pea soup in the pot on the stove.
“Pea soup,” he said. “My favourite.”
“My favrit, too,” said Amelia Louise.
She helped him get the sandwiches ready. Helping consisted of her eating a slice of cheese and telling him a story that really had no beginning and clearly no end. Windflower knew this game and played along by nodding at what he thought were the most important moments in his daughter’s monologue. He put the sandwiches on the frying pan, and while they were cooking, he took up a bowl of soup for her to cool as they were waiting.
When the sandwiches were done, he put her in her chair and tried feeding her the soup. That lasted about three spoonful’s and then she grabbed the spoon from his hands. There would soon be soup everywhere, but Windflower would clean that up later. He gave Amelia Louise part of her sandwich and sat to enjoy his soup.
The pea soup was excellent, and he savoured every drop of the thick and creamy broth with flecks of salt meat and chunks of carrot and turnip. He was just finishing up when Sheila came in with her bags of groceries. He helped her put the things away, cleaned up Amelia Louise and the kitchen and then got everybody, including Lady, ready for a walk around the neighbourhood. With Amelia Louise in her wagon and Lady on her leash, they walked down their street and then headed down to the wharf.
As Windflower and most of his family were enjoying walking around Grand Bank this snowy afternoon, Eddie Tizzard was on the phone with his new supervisor, Inspector Bill Ford. Ford was actually acting, like Tizzard. He had almost retired but was pressed back into service when the previous inspector, Ron Quigley, took a promotion in Ottawa.
“I’m sorry, Eddie, but we haven’t got a body to spare over here either,” said Ford. “We’ve got two active drug investigations underway and a hit-and-run that needs to be looked into as well. We’re just getting by in Marystown as it is.”
“There’s no way I can do justice to this case by myself,” said Tizzard. “And we’re getting tons of pressure. Not just from the families of the men who are missing, but throughout the community. We need to figure this thing out.”
“Well, do your best for now,” said Ford. “I’ll call up the line to see if we can’t get you another body somewhere.”
“Thank you, Inspector,” said Tizzard wearily. He hung up and went to the back to get himself a snack. His dad always said never to try to think on an empty stomach. He quoted Albert Einstein to him once: “An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.” Good advice thought Tizzard as he poked around in the fridge and found a piece of leftover pizza that he popped into the microwave. He sat to enjoy his pizza when his cell phone rang.
It was Constable Rick Smithson, the youngest member of his RCMP team.
“Hey, what’s up?” asked Tizzard.
“There’s a body,” said Smithson. “I’m down by the brook, closer to the dam. I got waved down as I was coming back from Fortune. Roy Saunders found him. He was out walking his dog.”
“Do we know who it is?” asked Tizzard.
“Roy says it’s Leo Broderick,” said Smithson. “I’ve called the paramedics.”
“Okay,” said Tizzard. “I’ll be right over.”
Reprinted with permission from Dangerous Waters by Mike Martin. © 2022 by Ottawa Press and Publishing