Not a usual fan of mysteries, I surprised myself when I chose The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney as my reading material during my recent vacation. I am very glad I did. A winner of the 2006 Costa Book Award, The Tenderness of Wolves is a multi-layered complex tale told from the perspectives of the primary characters in the book.
This is a historical mystery with quite a bit of suspense thrown in for good measure. Set in the Canadian Northern Territories in 1867 in the small community of Dove River, it begins with the discovery of the murder of fur trapper Laurent Jammet by his neighbor, Mrs. Ross. She stumbles upon the body and reports the crime to the local statesman, Andrew Knox, but regrets the fact when her missing seventeen year-old son, Francis, is immediately considered a suspect for the murder.
Several interesting central characters are also drawn into the search for Francis and to solve the murder: Thomas Sturrock, an American trader; Donald Moody, a Hudson Bay Company representative; and William Parker, a Native American trapper who is also considered a suspect in the crime when discovered searching Mr. Jammet's cabin. The tale unfolds and the mystery is eventually solved in layers from the perspective of each of the characters. The characterizations and the complex plot devices kept my interest throughout a middle seat plane trip to the west coast. A true great read!
The Tenderness of Wolves