by Suzanne F. Kingsmill
Zoology professor Cordi O'Callaghan is off on another outdoors adventure -- this time on an Arctic cruise with a creative writing class. She's been roped into giving lectures on how to investigate crimes, based on her former adventure in Forever Dead, the first Cordi O'Callaghan mystery. And also, to talk about the natural biology of the Arctic. Her persuasive lab technician, Martha soon has her agreeing to do this, although with much skepticism.
The teacher turns out to be Terry Spencer, a woman who had been acquitted of murder, had written about her experiences, and is now writing and teaching fiction. Upon first meeting, it's unlikely a friendship will grow between the two.
The outing starts off badly when frayed ropes result in a mishap with the zodiac squiring the group over to the ship. After several more incidents, including Cordi almost being left behind on an ice flow and an intruder hidden in a balaclava breaking into her room, Cordi is convinced someone is trying to kill her.
Murder happens but neither of the two bodies is Cordi and she alone believes them to be murder. The unofficial verdict is accident and suicide. Or, vice versa. Terry Spencer happens to be one of the victims... and the list of her students who want her dead is a long one.
By the time they get back to the Ottawa area, Cordi has had enough of being seasick, of being pursued by an elusive murderer, and of the entire group. But the killer hunts her down and tries to torch her house.
The action is non-stop and the setting is incredible. Kingsmill gives the reader a real feel for the beauty and desolation of the Arctic. And she handles the Ottawa and Gatineau regions equally well. The plot is complex with twists and turns that keep Cordi and the reader on their toes.