Fifth Son by Barbara Fradkin
Among the books I read in 2012 were six books by Barbara Fradkin, a Canadian writer who was recommended to me by my daughter, Michelle. Michelle is an avid reader who enjoys mysteries as much as I do.
Barbara Fradkin worked as a psychologist and has brought this knowledge to her mystery series, featuring Inspector Michael Green of the Ottawa Police Criminal Investigations Division. Fifth Son is the fourth in the Inspector Green series.
A man has fallen to his death from the tower of a church in a rural village, part of the newly expanded city of Ottawa. Did he jump or was he pushed? Green is called in because the local police officers are not sure.
Green’s methodical questioning of the villagers and nearby farmers opens up a whole new area of the investigation. It seems that a family of young men who had lived on a nearby farm may hold a secret so terrible that it is impacting this case years later.
Green’s teen-aged daughter, Hannah, who has recently come to live with him and his wife, reluctantly helps her father when she tells him that she knows one of the key witnesses, who is a special-needs student at the school where she volunteers.
Fradkin’s knowledge of the city of Ottawa and the surrounding area adds a note of authenticity to the characters and setting of the novel. An example of this that I particularly enjoyed was her description of an apartment building in the Alta Vista area of Ottawa, “…which would have been tolerable had it been on the north side overlooking the grassy shoreline of the Rideau River. Unfortunately, his miniscule apartment faced west over four lanes of Bank Street and the Billings Bridge Shopping Mall parking lot.”
This book was a great read, with lots of action, deft character descriptions, and a plot that pulls us in and carries us easily from the initial days of the investigation to the surprising conclusion of the mystery.
Barbara Fradkin has done it again. Her books have earned her a permanent place on my bookshelf.
I encourage you to pick up one of the Inspector Green Mysteries. You won’t be sorry.
Thanks for reading. – Maureen