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The Wandering Soul Murders

(A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #3)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  372 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Murder is the last thing on Joanne Kilbourn’s mind on a perfect morning in May. Then the phone rings, and she learns that her daughter Mieka has found the corpse of a young woman in an alley near her store. So begins Joanne’s chilling collision with evil in Gail Bowen’s riveting third mystery, The Wandering Soul Murders.

Joanne is stunned and saddened by the news that the d
Paperback, 232 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 1992)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  372 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Apr 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This Joanne Kilbourn mystery involving child prostitution is disturbing but well plotted and comes to a satisfying conclusion. One has to suspend disbelief in this sort of mystery series. How on earth does an innocent academic and her family keep being drawn into murder cases and manage to solve them when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police don't!
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my third book in the Joanne Kilbourn series and because there are 19 in total, I wonder whether I can ever catch up to this prolific author, Gail Bowen. Her amateur detective is a widow, a university professor who lives in Saskatchewan (since I grew up there, the settings are very familiar). Although Joanne lives in a leafy suburb, raising her kids in an average Canadian household, she encounters some pretty grisly murders -- and this book is the grisliest so far. Several bodies of young ...more
Should have read this after Murder at the Mendel. However it didn't hurt the mystery at all. Sally's daughter is now part of Joanne's family, which seems to be a good outcome. It was a little confusing to find Peter's girl friend portrayed extremely negatively in this book when she just appeared to be your average girlfriend in the previous one. People die weirdly, unpleasantly, in this and Joanne's daughter becomes involved when she finds a girl murdered and left out side the cafe Mieka is read ...more
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I haven't read a Joanne Kilbourn mystery for a while, but I seamlessly fell into this one and once more became a part of the woman's family. Two deaths close to home lead Joanne to investigate the background of her son's former girlfriend and her daughter's employee who seems to be one of the Little Flower murders. The facts lead to some horrific conclusions and Joanne's adopted daughter is threatened by a shadowy, but powerful group.

Gripping, yet vastly entertaining.
Jul 21, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite some implausibilities that nearly wrecked the ending (out in the middle of nowhere, knowing that there are, to say the least, unsavory types in the area, the protag leaves her small daughter alone with a complete stranger), I was pleasantly surprised by the grittiness of the story/crime. It was a quick, enjoyable read.
Apr 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy Gail Bowen's books, this one more than ever. The characters'family life is realistic and I'm interested to see how it will evolve.
Though the plot may be predictable (I guessed whoddunit early in the book), the death still shocked and made me feel for these wandering souls.
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really didn't care for the main character in the book or the storyline. The writing was okay, but a little flat. I doubt I'll be reading more in the series.
Andrea Harris
Good. Not great. Some of the characters are Just Not Right.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
For a smart woman, Joanne makes some terrible choices. That aside, this is a good but disturbing story.

Joanne's daughter, Mika, finds a body of a young woman. She knew this young girl and is very disturbed to have found the body.

Joanne's son, Peter, has had a relationship with a very disturbed young woman. Joanne thought it was over, but she turns up again, just in time to go celebrate Mika and Greg's engagement party. At this party, this young woman is also killed.

Against all advice, Joanne fo
Neill Smith
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The young street girl Mieka Kilbourn had hired to help her renovate her new catering place was brutally murdered and left in a dumpster behind the building one night. The police who had sponsored her for the job knew she had been a prostitute for a local street gang before she began working as part of her rehabilitation. She was the fourth girl to be murdered in this particular way. Mieka’s brother’s aspiring girlfriend had a rather intense enmity towards street girls in general and expressed he ...more
Wendell Hennan
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joanne's daughter is getting married and Joanne has difficulty being comfortable with the groom's mother. At the same time a young girl who was working for Joanne's daughter in her restaurant was murdered and left stripped and hanging from the edge of the back alley dumpster. The story progesses as wedding plans unfurl and Joanne is drawn further and further into the murder, part of a series of murders of very young prostitutes. Filled with family interaction and the thought processes of a mothe ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Gail Bowen has done it again—made me cry about a mystery. Having said that, I think if I saw Joanne Killbourn heading my way, I’d pretend I hadn’t seen her and run the opposite direction. People around her are susceptible to murder & mayhem; some are even killers! And the social events—someone is bound to die! Bowen writes so beautifully that only on the other side of each book have I realized just how dangerous Saskatchewan must surely be!
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read “The Wandering Soul Murders” before but no details stuck, because I had been oblivious to its series. I like Gail Bowen’s Saskatchewan-themed mysteries but crimes, my least favourite kind, can be awful. This one investigates prostitute rings. I usually sympathize with her family: engaged daughter Mieka, working son Peter, Angus in school, and adopted daughter Taylor. However if a story is grim, in terms of unpleasantness rather than suspense and if we dislike the others players; readi ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
You know when you see a review on the cover and it says "... riveting ..." but they don't tell you the words before and after? Like: It could have said "This book is not riveting. Its crap", but they leave all that out? This book is definitely "...riveting ..." And I'm intentionally leaving out the words on either side. Not because they match what I said just now, but because they need to be left out.
Its not a book you can't live without, but it has its endearing qualities.
It is not a suspensef
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Easy to read, interesting setting. However, (and I never say this about a book, usually I say the opposite) it could have been longer. I find a lot of things weren't fleshed out as well as they could have been. But, it was the ending that dropped my rating from a 4 star to a 3. It was a bit farfetched. I won't give it away but the relative being involved was weird and the ending just felt rushed and thrown together. Quick, interesting escapism for the most part though.
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit diapointed with this book. Main reason is that this publisher also prints eg Henning Mankell and other great writers. So I expected another style of writing...
But apart from that, it's a good book, nice plot and an easy read. I love the characters and will definatly look for some other books with Joanne Killbourn...
Also nice to know that this title was translated as "The teddy bear murders", a very appealing one...
David W.
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am trying to read these in order of her writing them. Not only do you get to see Regina and Saskatoon in the plots, but you get to see her family grow. Each story shows her and her family at a different stage of family growth. Adds to the story and makes you feel you are in a small way a part of the family.
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in my marina clubhouse's reading shelf when I was desperate for reading material. Slim book by a Canadian (which I am though I live in Ontario) writer so I grabbed it. Excellent story by a new author and I will be looking for the rest of the series and trying to start at number one! It was a great book and I can't believe I have missed her all this time.
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young women are dying and Joanne pokes and prods until she discovers who and why. Joanne, the main character, is a flawed, and therefore, believable person. I don't always like her as a result. Gail Bowen is a Canadian author and writes about Saskatchewan locations which is nice because I can relate.
Alyce Rocco
I am adding books from a list of books read, started around October, 2006. I have a very vague recollection of liking author, Gail Bowen. After reading the blurb, I still have zero recall about "The Wandering Soul Murders." If I do not like a book, I do not finish reading it. Since I marked this one "read", it was probably just okay.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carmen Michelle D.
The ending caught me offguard cause I don't usually read books about that topic, too hard to get out of my mind. I had to stop reading more of her books for awhile. I do like this author though and have enjoyed the tv movies with Wendy Crewson. This was just a hard book to finish.
A very good book but depressing subject matter. This one was a little too "work-like" for me.
Patrick Book
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
That really escalated.
Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
have an idea as to who the culprit is in this book -- be interesting if i'm right as the clues have been few and far between!
Jun 30, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too many people who don't all tie in at the end.
Oct 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another of the Joanne Kilbourn mysteries, set in Saskatchewan, Canada. Well crafted mystery, with a tense exciting ending.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series is really beginning to "grow" on me. Will start #4 in series in coming weeks.
Strong female protagonist, working woman in politics... but her "see the best in everyone" at odds with her complete lack of cynicism. This turns the series into a cozy vs a suspense/thriller.
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Gail Dianne Bowen (née Bartholomew) is a Canadian playwright and writer of mystery novels. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Bowen was educated at the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and the University of Saskatchewan. She subsequently taught English in Saskatchewan, and is currently a professor of English at First Nations University of Canada. Bowen's mystery novels feature Joanne Kilbo ...more

Other books in the series

A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Deadly Appearances (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #1)
  • Murder at the Mendel (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #2)
  • A Colder Kind of Death (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #4)
  • A Killing Spring (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #5)
  • Verdict in Blood (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #6)
  • Burying Ariel (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #7)
  • The Glass Coffin (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #8)
  • The Last Good Day (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #9)
  • The Endless Knot (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #10)
  • The Brutal Heart (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #11)
“Its an onion tree. Every time Sam takes off an onion, two more will grow in its place.” 1 likes
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