Blessed be those who release us from the grip of the Scandinavian crime novel and invite us to take some time out on the tundra.
M J McGrath – Melanie McGrath in her previous non-fiction outings – has a wonderful knowledge of life in the outer reaches of Arctic Canada, its history and politics, and its culture in the contemporary world. She shares all this in White Heat, managing to take in Greenland along the way. Her protagonist, Edie Kiglatuk, is a force to be reckoned with and a beautifully refreshing character in today’s world for this is a woman who takes family, responsibility and commitment seriously. She may be divorced but she still feels and acts upon her commitment to her stepson Joe.
Edie is an expert hunter and guide in a forbidding terrain. She takes two tourists on an expedition but returns with one dead, shot in mysterious circumstances. Canada it may be, and arms length at that, but with a sparse population the authorities do not operate as many of us would expect. When Edie reports this unfortunate occurrence, the Council of Elders in Autisaq are quick to deem it an accident with an overriding view to protection of their much needed economic income from tourism. Think hushed. Think hidden. Think under the carpet, if such flooring existed in this part of the world.