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The Calling

(Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  2,654 ratings  ·  366 reviews
There were thirteen crime-scene pictures. Dead faces set in grimaces and shouts. Faces howling, whistling, moaning, crying, hissing. Hazel pinned them to the wall and stood back. It was a silent opera of ghosts.

Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than gra
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 5th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2008)
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Dave Gibson I don't think it's any of them- it could be an amalgam of all three. Yet again, I'm an Aussie so what do I know!…moreI don't think it's any of them- it could be an amalgam of all three. Yet again, I'm an Aussie so what do I know!(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  2,654 ratings  ·  366 reviews

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May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent mystery about a 60-year old female CO in a small Canadian town outside of Toronto. There are the usual issues with superiors, staff, new detective, etc., etc., but the slant's a little different and I liked the fact that the MC was an 'older' woman. (Who even has her older-older cranky, independent mother living with her - she used to be the town's mayor!)

The situation: a serial killer is targeting terminally-ill people, especially the old, and leaving them with contorted mouths and m
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inger-ash-wolfe
The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe.

I had read and enjoyed The Night Bell by I.A.W. and decided to go back and start with the first book in the Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef series.

Hazel Micallef is not your average Detective Inspector. She's over 60 years of age with painful health issues and an aging mother she cares for at home. Detective Micallef is also divorce with a history of alcoholism which has never completely left her life. All that taken into consideration she runs a tight ship with
Jul 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The hardest part of writing a mystery for North American audiences has got to be getting the ending right. Because in American mysteries, the whole affair travels the arc from procedural to personal, concluding with the inevitable – and once upon a time, appreciated – face-to-face confrontation between law and disorder. It’s a formula that becomes more tiresome the more the genre adheres to it, and only Europe has truly embraced tossing a little mystery back into the business of, um, mysteries a ...more
This was an excellent new author for me to read. The book was original in plotline and mostly stayed at a fast pace. All of the characters were "real" to me and for most of my reading I didn't want to put the book down. The book was a little slow in the beginning then there was some less edgy parts in the middle which is why I marked it down to 4 stars. When I think of the characters, plotline, and setting, it reminded me of Lois Penny's series of books with Detective Armound Gamache, only the f ...more
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
Wow! The most compelling book I've read in a long time. The characters have lots of depth and the plotting is twisty, sharp and very, very creepy. Not at all the mid of book I usually enjoy. It was recommended on a mystery book list I read so I took a chance and was rewarded. Set in Northern Canada, the female lead is 61, divorced and troubled by the very bad back and lack of support from regional headquarters. Enter what turns out to be a very scary serial killer who comes only by appointment. ...more
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Binti Jua
Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for "a North American literary novelist," so I was curious to see a (presumably) skilled novelist put his or her genre instincts to work. It was a disappointment.

There were way too many characters and names introduced at the outset. By page 23, 23 characters had either been met in person, or mentioned (including two named Gord); some of those mentioned would later appear, others didn't. By the end of the book, this number had more than doubled. All the expected p
Nov 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dec-10
I am not quite half way through this and it is amazing! If you like Cody McFadyen then this book is perfect for you!
Finished it and loved it!
Stacie  Haden
"Thriller" is too often synonymous with gruesome. For me, the gore took away from what could have been a series I would want to continue. To each his own. ...more
Feb 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
How do you review this book? It held great promise, the characters were well drawn and interesting but acted irrationaly. The plot was complicated but lacked direction and believabilty.

Spoilers Follow:

I'm still not sure what motivated the killer. Nor am I sure why Det Insp Hazel Micallif refused to call in the Canadian Mounted Police when she realised there was a serial killer on the ramage. It would seem the logical thing to do. No, instead she kept silent and eventually called in a TV true cr
May 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: aspiriing detectives, people who like western omelets, scaredycats
Shelves: mystery
woah. this was a seriously good murder mystery. a friend who is a book distributor told me that "this is the new margaret atwood," & I thought he meant it metaphorically, but now I'm wondering if he meant it literally. the back cover says "Inger Wolfe is the pseudonym of a prominent North American literary novelist." hmmm. in any case, if you have a stomach for gore and like salty 61-year-old female police chiefs, buy this book. I couldn't put it down. ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

What should have been a great mix of well crafted characters & an interesting serial killer case ended up being a bland series of events that comes to an abrupt conclusion.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, canadian
THE CALLING is one of those books. One of those books that I found sometimes utterly compelling; was bored witless in some passages; laughed out loud in others; found myself heartily confused about some of the procedural elements; and was slightly repelled by some parts.

It is a serial killer book, and I will admit that I'm getting to the point where I'm over the whole serial killer thing. I'm particularly over the barking mad, out there motive serial killer thing. And there's certainly a barking
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book had almost everything I love in a book. It has fleshed out characters who I ended up caring about. It was beautifully written. It had a real sense of place. What I didn't care for was the graphic and gruesome descriptions of the aftermath of the killings. Also, the ending I thought was convenient.
I would like to read more about Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef who is a great character but will look at reviews for the next book to see if I can tell if the gore level is lower.
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and a half stars.
Well, I just don't know what to write. I did like Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, sixty-one year old and living with her mother. But it would normally not be the sort of book I like, mainly because of there being too much gore for my taste. However,it was quite a compelling book and I just had to read on to the end.

Sue Smith
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book with a really nasty serial murder! Loved the characters!
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
This first portion of my review does not contain spoilers. Please do not read beyond the bolded comments below if you don't wish to be spoiled on the ending.

I really enjoyed this book. The mystery element is solid and when the point-of-view switches to the killer, it is creepy, frequently gross, and thoroughly engrossing. I think this book would have suffered without the reader being able to get an understanding of the killer’s mindset and his “victims”. Oddly enough, sometimes I understood the
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read "The Taken" before I read this one, so I read out of order. However, it did not take away from the story. The story follows D.I. Hazel Micallef, in a small town called Port Dundas in Canada. The body of an elderly lady Hazel knows all her life, is found in her home, drained of her blood and yet it would appear, humanely killed. The woman has a terminal illness and it would have seemed to have been an assisted suicide, had it not been for the strange post-death mutilation. When Hazel hears ...more
I finished this last night and I must admit it turned out better than I'd been thinking it would. Probably about two thirds of the way through, I was pretty much convinced that it was going to be a let down. But it did pick up in the dramatics later on, so that's good.

I really enjoyed reading about Hazel Micallef, Detective Inspector in a small town called Port Dundas. She wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, and I like that she made the sort of mistakes one can totally see a small town cop with
Jill Griffith
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Peter Bailey, St. Albert Public Library Director for recommending this series, and to CBC Radio Edmonton for having him on to spread the word about this fantastic Canadian mystery author in both genre and name. Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of the well known (and really diplomatic) Canadian author Michael Redhill. The Calling is the beginning of a new wonderful friendship for me and thankfully I have #2 of the current 4 in this series locked and loaded. A great police procedural tha ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is actually a strong 3.5, but I just couldn't push it up to 4 because of some major problems with the mystery. The main character, Hazel is so well-drawn, interesting and different for a police chief in a novel. I also really enjoyed the depiction of the killer and the manner in which the murders were described, but the motivation of the killer was never flushed out. I wanted much more background on the killer and to see some psychological analysis of his actions. Besides Hazel's mothe ...more
Jan C
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2011, canada
oh, why did I put this book down? I must have forgotten how much I was enjoying it.
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hazel Micallef is an unexpected protagonist. 61, gray haired, bad back, divorced, and living with her 87-year old mother, she isn't your typical Detective Inspector. She runs a small, rural police department way north of Toronto. She is fighting the powers that be in Toronto to keep her small department afloat amid their desire to consolidate all the small towns. A terminally ill elderly woman is found murdered in a most unusual way. It turns out there is a bizarre religious zealot killing termi ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The murders are horrifying, but not gratuitous. The detective in charge is sympathetic, but not quirky. The setting is rural Canada, where the murderer travels fram small towns to even smaller towns, working on his murderous master plan. I liked everything about this, and may have found a new favorite series. The only stopping me from a five star rating was the ending. I liked how (relatively) understated and realistic the novel was up to that point, and the climax was just a little too over-the ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it did not like it
Ick, this book doesn’t even deserve one star however there is no option for negative stars. I chose another yucky book. I’m a bit gun shy now. I think I will stay away from any book touted a psychological thriller I have been burned too many times.
Donald Schopflocher
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, can-lit
Presents the points of view of both (various) police and of a serial killer; contains both a mystery section and a chase section making it more thriller than police procedural, and having the requisite unexpected twists that keep the thriller reader plowing onward. Together with Canadian locations and a sympathetic set of small-town characters, a good first novel by Michael Redhill whose Bellevue Square represents a quantum leap forward.
Nicola Mansfield
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: My sister brought the book to my attention and I saw that Mo Hayder had put a blurb on it so I definitely was intrigued by this new author.

Summary: Inspector Hazel Micallef is the acting chief of police at a small Ontario town. At 61 years of age daily life for Hazel and this police force involves drunks, trespassing, speeding and maybe the occasional domestic dispute. That is until an elderly town citizen dying of cancer is brutally murdered and drained of all her blood. In
Oct 10, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-read, own
A novel recommended to me.
As I've probably told already, crime novels aren't my first pick. I can see the plot coming a mile ahead and I don't like that in a novel.

The Calling was something else, though.
It's centers around Hazel Micallef, a 61 year old woman leading a police force in a small, happy place in Canada, until a grisly murders takes place. Or seems to anyway, because the deeper they dig, the more it seems as if the victim had agreed upon the murder.

Hazel acts like a dog with a bone, n
Heidi | Paper Safari Book Blog
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved that the main character of this book isn't some svelte young beauty who is new to the job and solves the mystery all by herself with hardly a clue. Instead the main character Hazel is a 61 year old woman, recently divorced, and close to retirement who abhors technology. Hazel is also hobbled by a bad back for which she relies on pain killers and whiskey to help, and has an 80 year old mother who is constantly torturing her to lose weight so she can find a new husband. Her department is i ...more
Iowa City Public Library
Mystery number one : who wrote this book? The book jacket says, "Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym for a North American literary novelist." Mystery number two is actually less of a mystery because almost from the beginning of The Calliing you know who is killing and mutiliating old people with terminal illnesses. The killer is working his way across the breadth of Canada meeting a precise schedule of pre-arranged appointments, focusing on small towns in rural areas where police resources are stre ...more
Kat Dietrich
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe is the 1st in the Hazel Micallef Detective Series.

Wonderful book. Finally, a 61-year old female police detective, solving crimes in small-town Ontario! Her character is amazing....divorced, bad back and addicted to pain killers, living with her elderly mother, and we aren't really sure who is taking care of who. Her policing methods are a little "off-the books", but the job gets done.

In this book, when an elderly woman dies in Hazel's home town, her face gruesomel
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Play Book Tag: The Calling by Inger Ash Wolfe 4 stars 2 16 Oct 12, 2018 05:00PM  
Who is Inger Ash Wolfe? 3 62 Jan 22, 2014 01:55PM  

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Inger Ash Wolfe is the pseudonym of the Canadian fiction writer Michael Redhill.

Michael Redhill is a poet, playwright and novelist whom has written two novels, a collection of short fiction, three plays, and five collections of poetry. His play, Building Jerusalem (2001) garnered him the Dora Award, the Chalmers Award, and a nomination for the Governor General’s award. His first novel, Martin Slo

Other books in the series

Hazel Micallef Mystery (4 books)
  • The Taken (Hazel Micallef Mystery #2)
  • A Door in the River (Hazel Micallef Mystery #3)
  • The Night Bell (Hazel Micallef Mystery, #4)

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