Part of an eco-protest group aimed at Arbor Vitae, Daniel is also exhibiting one of his paintings, titled "Bella Donna," which leads him to becoming a suspect in the murder-by-poison investigation. Sam believes in Daniel's innocence and agrees to help Clara prove it. The large cast of well-drawn characters in the book include Sam's eccentric tenant, who lifts weights to the Goldberg Variations; a mysterious FBI agent, who antagonizes Sam at every turn; a shady man with possible Mafia connections, who is eager to buy into Arbor Vitae and who happens to cultivate rare plants; and the seductive Arbor Vitae research scientist, Dr.
Annie Sergeant. There's plenty of local flavour of Vieux Quebec, the neighbourhoods of Ottawa, and the rugged beauty of the Gatineau Hills. Having experienced these locales myself, I enjoyed revisiting them. Now I look forward to the next Sam Montcalm mystery. Mar 04, Alison C rated it did not like it. Nightshade is the first novel in a projected series by Tom Henighan, featuring Ottawa-based private detective Sam Montcalm, whose most frequent jobs involve the sordid little affairs of the rich and famous.
On vacation in Quebec City, he is asked by an old girlfriend, Clara, to help their mutual friend, police officer Paul Berthelet, discover the facts behind the mysterious murder of a genetic scientist, poisoned with deadly nightshade. The police already suspect Clara's partner Daniel, an India Nightshade is the first novel in a projected series by Tom Henighan, featuring Ottawa-based private detective Sam Montcalm, whose most frequent jobs involve the sordid little affairs of the rich and famous.
The police already suspect Clara's partner Daniel, an Indian activist and artist, but Sam soon learns that there are far more suspects than that As someone living in Montreal, I've of course visited both Ottawa and Quebec City many times, which is why I was curious about this book.
Unfortunately, I was not impressed with either the main character or the settings in which he finds himself; there's an attempt to give Sam a sad and difficult back-story which rings fairly hollow, and incidents placed in Quebec are marred by the author's decision to use English abbreviations for French institutions: calling the SQ surete du Quebec by the abbreviation QPP, apparently patterned after Ontario's Provincial Police, just threw me completely out of the story.
Those readers who don't live in this Province won't have that problem, obviously, but they may not find much else to admire in the book either. I spotted the murderer very early on, too, which is disappointing in a mystery. I won't be searching for the second book in this series, and wouldn't recommend that anybody else bother, either. Aug 09, Arto rated it it was ok. Although enjoyed the Canadian themes and the setting in Quebec City then Ottawa and environs , did not really like the story nor the style of writing.
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Found it "pulpy". Fitting, since one of the themes was trees. Marta Bedard rated it liked it Apr 07, Heather Williams rated it it was ok Aug 11, Lise Dufour rated it liked it Oct 18, Doug Beagrie rated it liked it May 26, Mar 16, Jack Heath marked it as to-read Shelves: category-mystery , other-canadian. Synopsis: there's been a murder in Quebec City. The sharpest eye belongs to Montcalm whose concern is to clear a First Nations activist.
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Unfolding Arts in Ottawa. Henighan's exploration of environmental concerns is timely, lively, sincere London Free Press. Mystery Maven Canada. Tom Henighan Follow this author. Other titles by this author. Julie H. Ferguson , Tom Henighan , Wayne Larsen and 2 others.
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