Darkest Before the Dawn
Half a dozen times or more as I read “Darkest Before the Dawn” (Flanker Press) this question popped into my noggin: Oh my, what would Sergeant Preston say?
When I was a callow bay-boy, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon was a TV and comic book hero. Because there was no TV in my outport home, I never saw Sergeant Preston “live”, but I read every comic book available.
Recently, as part of exhaustive research, I watched Sergeant Preston, his horse Rex and wonder-dog Yukon King on YouTube.
YouTubing, that’s an activity neither a bay-boy nor a Northwest Mountie could have imagined, eh b’ys?
Sergeant Preston was the quintessential Mountie hero who I intended to grow up to be, until the Sisters Fate decided otherwise.
After 10 years or so, Sgt. Winston Windflower is still on the force in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, fighting vill’yens, solving crimes, and always — in legendary Mountie tradition — getting his man.
A body is discovered; foul play is obvious. Windflower is riding headlong into the investigation when he gets a phone call I’m betting no Mountie wants when he’s actively working a case.
“Winston,” says his wife Sheila, “can you pick up some diapers on the way home?”
Oh my, what would Sergeant Preston say?
It’s true, the Windflowers have a baby daughter, Amelia Louise, the joy of their lives.
Yet, after the diaper delivery, Sgt. Wince still must fight crime — in this case crime that leads to a cyber trail on the Dark Wet.
As always, among his fellow crime fighters is the irrepressible Corporal Eddie Tizzard, despite his having been seriously wounded in an earlier adventure. Tizzard, as well as being tickled to death to be back in the saddle, is thrilled because his soulmate Constable Carrie Evanchuk is back in Grand Bank.
A second victim is found shot to death aboard a van on the dump road. This killing is an obvious complication — and perhaps a clue — for Windflower and the Grand Bank RCMP detachment.
Although concentrating on his investigation, as focused as Sherlock Holmes on the trail of a spectral Baskerville hound, Windflower still makes time to attend to his family obligations.
Diapers, yes, but also walking his dog, Lady.
To tell the truth, I was beat to a snot trying to keep up with Windflower and Lady on their frequent walks — up the trail, down the path, along the beach.
Diapers, walking the dog, and cooking. (Listen, I’m not even going to mention a stray cat that’s pussy-footing its way into Windflower’s family.)
At the end of Chapter 19, Windflower is seated at the supper table “lost in food heaven.” A little farther along, as part of preparing to cook, Windflower “put on a hairnet and apron.”
Oh my, what would Sergeant Preston say?
As well as striving to solve two murders and sort out the particulars of a possible suicide, Windflower manages — with Shelia’s help — to set wheels in motion to find some way of improving the quality of mental health care in Grand Bank.
Windflower is up-to-his-arse busy. So busy, in fact, that he engages his often-inebriated Uncle Frank (Yes, Uncle Frank is back from the Canadian West) to stake out a crime scene under the spot-check supervision of otherwise occupied Mounties.
During his frenetic investigation of two murders, money laundering, and “cryptocurrency” shenanigans on the Dark Web — oh, get this, there are rumours of a ghost prowling in the fog — Windflower squeezes out a few minutes to get down on the beach for capelin scull…
… to attend capelin scull and allow author Mike Martin to pen a cracker-jack image of capelin rolling: “a silver tsunami … swimming near the top of the water as tens of thousands of capelin tried to get in to spawn on the beach.”
Silver tsunami. Gem-dandy, eh b’ys?
Stories must end. Before this one does there’s a definite suicide, the ghost is exposed, and a stray cat gets a name and a new home.
His case wrapped up, Windflower — as he is wont to do — will wax poetic and continue swapping quotations from Billy the Bard of Avon with his companions.
Winston spouting Shakespeare. Oh my, what would Sergeant Preston say?
I know what Sergeant Preston will say if some day in Storytime he reads the adventures of Sgt. Winston Windflower.
He’ll say to the author, “Mike b’y, your yarns are the cat’s meow! Keep ‘em coming.”
Well, he might.
Thank you for reading.