The Delicate Storm

Publisher: Vintage Canada
…there is nothing more still than a dead body, and no mistaking it for anything else. This one was naked, covered with a glaze of ice. Even the long black hair that fell in tendrils across her face was encased in ice. It was as if she were under a spell–the victim of a jealous wizard, a wicked witch. [The Delicate Storm, page 164]

Algonquin Bay is wrapped in a thick blanket of fog; an eerie prophecy of weather on its way, or perhaps something more ominous. When a local man discovers a dismembered arm in his front yard, it seems that the long fingers of fog that strangle the city are also hiding a grisly secret. While at first the discovery is thought to be the work of ravenous bears, woken early from their long winter hibernation, the coroner later confirms that the victim was actually sawn into pieces rather torn. The case becomes even murkier when a local trapper confesses to cutting up the body and scattering the remains but claims to be innocent of committing the murder.

Detectives John Cardinal and Lise Delorme have their work cut out for them. After identifying the victim as Howard Matlock, New York city resident, a new player enters the ring: the RCMP. In any case involving an American, the RCMP shares jurisdiction with the Algonquin Bay Police Department and that means Corporal Malcolm Musgrave. A blustering wall of self-importance and attitude, Musgrave has Cardinal bristling, and he reminds Delorme of a betrayal she’d rather forget. To add insult to injury, Delorme is pulled off the case and Cardinal ends up in a partnership not only with Musgrave, but with the unbearably obsequious Calvin Squier, an agent of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

When Cardinal makes the surprising discovery that Howard Matlock is alive and well, he begins to suspect that not everyone involved in the case is working towards the same goal. The body parts add up to one Miles Shakeley, a CIA operative in Montreal in 1970, and Cardinal becomes suspicious that CSIS is somehow involved.

Meanwhile, the case of a missing woman in Algonquin Bay is occupying Delorme. When the body of Dr. Winter Cates is uncovered in a glaze of ice, Delorme is convinced that a jealous boyfriend is to blame. But when blood evidence bonds Cardinal and Delorme’s cases, they are back together and travelling to Montreal to track down tenuous leads. And it is there that they discover that their cases reach far beyond the town limits of Algonquin Bay. Untangling the secrets of a government in crisis, cover-ups, and the meddling of American intelligence agencies, they are eventually led back to where they started–and to a suspect who is untouchable.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter 1

First came the warmth. Three weeks after New Year’s and the thermometer did what it never does in January in Algonquin Bay: it rose above the freezing mark. Within a matter of hours the streets were shiny and black with melted snow.

There wasn’t a trace of sun. A ceiling of cloud...
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“It’s almost a crime how beautiful Blunt’s prose is…. You are preternaturally there with these characters, crunching across frozen parking lots, shivery at stakeouts in the woods–ordinary cop scenes that in the hands of a stylist like Blunt become means of ratcheting up suspense.”
— Quill & Quire

“The prose bristles with tension and Blunt presents a conspiracy starring all the right acronyms– CSIS, the RCMP, the CIA and the FLQ. The Delicate Storm is the second novel featuring Det. John Cardinal and I hope it won’t be the last.”
— Chatelaine

“…an absorbing, perfect-for-the-summer kind of read.” -- En Route

“…a book that could be a contender for both the Arthur Ellis Award and the Stephen Leacock Medal.” -- Jack Batten in the Toronto Star

“[Blunt] has an excellent grasp of the issues and history and does a great job of working them into the plot, and he never lets go of the characters, which is where he really shines.” -- Margaret Cannon in The Globe and Mail

“Giles Blunt dazzled us mystery lovers with Forty Words for Sorrow. Now he has done it again with The Delicate Storm. Don't miss it.” -- Tony Hillerman

“[The Delicate Storm] tests positive on Blunt’s desriptive skills, which are undiminished. You are preternatuarally there with these characters, crunching across frozen parking lots, shivering at stakeouts in the woods -- ordinary cop scenes that in the hands of a stylist like Blunt become means of ratcheting up suspense.” -- Quill & Quire

“In a genre where writers often compete to create vile, loathsome villains perpetrating outrageous crimes, Blunt stands as a master craftsman who shows us not only darkness, but also decency.” -- Publishers Weekly

“This book is a diamond -- a glittering novel with sharp, hard edges and depth…[Blunt] has imagined many of the leading characters with insight and clarity…” -- Hamilton Spectator

“It’s a kind of mystery that’s literate, smart and subtly political. It also has an unerring sense of time and place.” -- Edmonton Journal

“Giles Blunt combines a massive ice storm, the conservative Ontario political scene and the FLQ crisis of 1970 into a crackerjack of a mystery novel…This book is a compulsive and intelligent page-turner.” -- Ken Kilpatrick for The Chronicle-Herald (Halifax)

“Blunt has woven together fictional characters with recent history to create a narrative both instructive and compelling.” -- The National Post

“…intriguing, well-considered and original.” -- The Vancouver Sun

“…[Blunt] has devised another fascinating case for his affable protagonist…Blunt gradually unfolds the engaging plot, dropping clues as well as several red herrings and twists that will keep readers turning the pages…his dialogue is credible and his prose moves the book along to its gripping conclusion.” -- The Winnipeg Free Press

“…wry humour, understated storytelling, and a sensitive understanding of how lives can be shattered by a single mistake…It is a multi-layered, elegantly written story that manages to transform ancient politics into unput-downable reading.” -- The Calgary Herald

“Blunt weaves an interesting and easily read tale while laying out his mystery…[his] writing is smooth and compact and carries you along with the right amount of detail mixed with the right amount of action.” -- FFWD Magazine

“This is good. The plot drives fast and well and the people speak like human beings. But it’s Blunt’s sense of place that is unique; that assures us he can join the select group of writers -- such as Ian Rankin and Tony Hillerman -- who can locate their readers in a fictional universe as physically real as the chair they inhabit.” -- The Observer

“…riveting…the book has the urgency of a TV crime drama…The plot is vast but plausible…The prose bristles with tension…” -- Chatelaine

“…offers lashings of suspense, excellent characters and prose and a well-told credible story worth the time spent reading it.” -- Victoria Times Colonist

Praise for Giles Blunt’s Forty Words for Sorrow:

“I wish I’d written Forty Words for Sorrow.” -- Tony Hillerman

“Brilliant -- one of the finest crime novels I’ve ever read.” -- Jonathan Kellerman

“Don’t read it just because it’s a good crime novel and because once you’ve begun, you won’t put it down until you’re finished. Read it because it’s excellent.” -- Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail

“The final pages present the sort of ending rare in crime fiction, one which compels readers to congratulate everybody in sight -- themselves, the book’s characters and particularly the author.” -- The Toronto Star

From the Hardcover edition.