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Lane Winslow #1

A Killer in King's Cove

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A smart and enchanting postwar mystery written for fans of the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.

It is 1946, and war-weary young ex-intelligence officer Lane Winslow leaves London to look for a fresh start. When she finds herself happily settled into a sleepy hamlet nestled in the idyllic interior of British Columbia surrounded by a suitably eclectic cast of small-town characters she feels like she may finally be able to put her past to rest.

But then a body is discovered, the victim of murder, and although she works alongside the town’s inspectors Darling and Ames to discover who might have possibly have motivation to kill, she unknowingly casts doubt on herself. As the investigation reveals facts that she has desperately tried to keep a secret, it threatens to pull her into a vortex of even greater losses than the ones she has already endured.

A clever postwar mystery that will appeal to fan of historical mysteries with women sleuths like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear or the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd.

432 pages, Paperback

First published March 12, 2015

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About the author

Iona Whishaw

12 books250 followers
Iona Whishaw has been a youth worker, social worker, teacher and an award winning High School Principal, who continued with her writing throughout her working life. Receiving her Masters in Creative writing from UBC, Iona has published short fiction, poetry, poetry translation and one children's book, Henry and the Cow Problem. The Lane Winslow mystery series is her first foray into adult fiction.

Iona was born in Kimberley BC, but grew up in a number of different places, including a small community on Kootenay Lake, as well as Mexico and Central America, and the US because of her father's geological work. She took a degree in history and education from Antioch College, and subsequent degrees in Writing at UBC and pedagogy at Simon Fraser University. Her own writing output took a brief back seat during her teaching career, but she shared her passion for writing by nurturing a love of writing in the students in English, Creative Writing, and Spanish classes. During the course of her career as a Principal in Vancouver she was awarded the Woman of Distinction in Education by the YWCA in 2010 and a Canada's Outstanding Principals award in 2012.

Her hobbies have included dance, painting, reading, and gardening. She currently is a vocalist for a small Balkan dance band in Vancouver, and is patiently waiting for her next opportunity to engage in her current pash, long distance, cross country rambling in England.

She is married, has one son and two grandsons, and lives in Vancouver with her artist husband, Terry Miller.

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5 stars
740 (24%)
4 stars
1,376 (46%)
3 stars
714 (23%)
2 stars
111 (3%)
1 star
35 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews
Profile Image for Thomas.
768 reviews177 followers
September 17, 2022
4 stars for an enjoyable historical fiction mystery, set in 1946 rural British Columbia, Canada. Lane Winslow is a British expat who has moved here to get away from WWII memories. My wife read this book before me, and she said that it had a very slow start, with the body not appearing until p. 60. I think that the author was building a sense of place for the reader, to carry through in subsequent books in the series.
While my wife thought that it dragged in parts and was too verbose, I found it to be a well paced book with believable characters and an intricate plot that kept me guessing who the killer was until near the end.
Because a slip of paper with Lane's name is found on the body, she is a suspect in the murder. She decides to try and solve the case herself, using skills that she learned as a spy in WWII.
Pros: I liked the character descriptions and the lush descriptions of the land.
Two quotes: "She arrived at the edge of the property quite breathless from both the climb and the sudden beauty before her, looking at a large, rambling wood-frame house painted a deep, old-fashioned green with rich cream trim on the many window and door frames. A lawn that seemed endless meandered like a green river around flowerbeds of every shape; islands of riotous colour."
View from Lane's house: "The overwhelming impression was one of multiple shades of blues and greens: the intense blue of the cloudless, now mid-afternoon sky. The layering of sunlit and shaded greens of the mountains rolling down toward the far shore of the lake."
Cons: Lane is British expat, using words that caused both my wife and myself to consult the dictionary. One word "trickcyclist",(psychologist) was not in the dictionary, and I had to go online. Usually, I could approximate a word's meaning through context ,but I prefer to be precise in my understanding of words, so I used a dictionary. My wife and I plan to continue reading this series.
This book would be suitable for cozy mystery fans--no bad words and only 1 murder, and no graphic violence. I think that Louise Penny fans would enjoy this book. I read it in 3 days.
My wife thinks that this book has the makings of a Hallmark movie, complete with a budding romance.
Thanks to Curtis Samuel at Touchwood for sending me this book.
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,250 reviews233 followers
September 16, 2022
Canada … “a new, clean, uncomplicated country with no blood in the soil from centuries of wars”

Lane Winslow, an erstwhile MI-6 intelligence officer in a Europe that has been torn limb from limb by the ravages of World War II, wants to start over. She chose to move thousands of isolated miles away from that past to a new country. She also made the decision to conceal that past from her new neighbours in a typical small Canadian town in British Columbia, from people who consistently seem to know what everyone around them is doing and make it their business to know everyone else’s business! But her past is not willing to let her escape that easily and Winslow finds herself the prime suspect in a murder when the local constabulary discover that the victim is a former colleague of Winslow’s from military intelligence in England.

Violence, blood and gore, chase scenes, thrills and chills, goose bumps and suspense are all notably and entirely absent. The plot, such as it is, moves at a positively glacial pace when it moves at all. For many readers (and that’s fair enough), these comments would be the death knell that would ensure the book never gets read or is tossed aside as a half-read DNF. On the other hand, many readers of a puzzle that leans in the direction of the cozy mystery genre like their novels more cerebral and character-based. Even though the ultimate ne’er do well is reasonably easy to figure out, A KILLER IN KING’S COVE certainly qualifies as a thoroughly enjoyable character driven cozy mystery in a comfy interesting setting.

I have no reservations about recommending it to like-minded readers but I’ll withhold the 4th or 5th stars. “Why is that?”, you ask. I’d like to read more atmospheric narrative to provide a more complete mental image as to the setting, both time and place. That said, I’m happy to add Lane Winslow #2 DEATH IN A DARKENING MIST to my reading list.

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Susan Quinn.
355 reviews6 followers
January 3, 2018
This book is part of a series, it seems and based on this one that I read, I will not be reading any others.

I wanted to like it. It's a mystery, which I enjoy, by a Canadian author, and had been given a decent review somewhere. I added it to my reading list and up it popped.

I only finished the thing because I was curious to know how she ended it. To get to the end involved a lot of skimming, I can tell you. This book needed a serious editing job. It was so long-winded. And repetitive.

Probably everyone who reads mysteries tries to guess the outcome as they read along in the book. Me included. To me, a good mystery is one where I don't know the outcome or can't figure out who the bad guy is. At least I don't want to have figured it out until I'm close to the end. Not this book! The "bad" guy pops up fairly early in the book and I thought "oh come on, surely he's not going to really be the bad guy, is he?" And sure enough, he was. And so stereotypically bad. Angry to the point of being demented. A boor, sexist, damaged. Ugh.

And the heroine is simply a twit. Sure, let's go out, in the dark, to the forest, because you live in a very remote area and you've just moved there from another country, so you know next to nothing about the area. But let's go out while there is a murderer roaming around, and not phone anybody because gee, you've only got suspicions and let's walk into the desolate forest to see if the murderer has left any more clues. Plus we may or may not lock the doors to our house because we like the freedom of not locking doors.

Honestly. It just didn't do anything for me.
Profile Image for Elinor.
Author 3 books169 followers
June 4, 2017
I really enjoyed this cozy mystery for a bunch of reasons:
- the time period (right after the Second World War, with flashbacks to the heroine's wartime experiences as a spy);
- the plucky heroine Lane Winslow (who moves from war-shattered England and buys a farmhouse in rural Canada to start her life over);
- the setting (the fictional King's Cove is located somewhere near Nelson, British Columbia, with wonderful descriptions of the gorgeous West Kootenay landscape);
- the murder mystery itself, which was trickily done;
- and finally, the sparks between the heroine and the local police officer, which are hopefully destined to burst into flame at some point in the series.
Oh, and did I mention the cover? I love the vintage look and feel of the cover. I might even buy the paperback version so I can leave it artfully lying around!
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
575 reviews991 followers
May 20, 2018
Lane Winslow served as an MI-6 agent during World War 2 and is ready to leave that life behind when the war ends. She moves to a small town in Canada in hopes of starting over. But the weary and intelligent protagonist is not to find peace in Canada when a murder happens soon after she arrives. Whishaw fabulously creates a sense of place in the tiny Canadian town and populates the town with likeable (mostly) and unique characters. I really enjoyed the mystery and the budding relationship between Winslow and a local police officer. I look forward to reading the next book in the series soon.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,942 reviews199 followers
July 17, 2019
Lanette “Lane” Winslow has relocated to British Columbia in 1946, a time when that province was very rural. Lane wants to escape the loss of her beloved and her career as a British spy. The 26-year-old has settled in tiny King’s Cove, a village so isolated that fewer than a dozen families live there, all but five inhabits much older than than she.

Lane was quite taken with the scenic beauty of Western Canada; however, Lane has only been there a few months when a corpse turns up with her name written on a paper in her pocket. Yet, Lane has never met him in her life! Why was he there? And who would kill this stranger?

Iona Whishaw, a British Columbia native, has crafted a wonderful historical novel with a feisty and fabulous heroine. I devoured this book (also published as Dead in the Water), and immediately bought the sequel, Death in a Darkening Mist, upon finishing the series’ debut. Whishaw’s characters have depth and personality, and the book’s plot proved irresistible. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,164 reviews34 followers
January 12, 2020
Lane Winslow left the British secret service and moved to King's Cove in rural British Columbia. She finds herself a suspect when a dead man is found in her creek. No one in the community knows the man. Inspector Darling and Constable Ames investigate. Because Lane is sworn to secrecy on many matters, she cannot always provide an answer to questions. Lane is held in the local jail until a man from Lane's past shows up confirming the man's identity and asserting Lane's innocence. Will that be enough to keep Lane out? Lane feels the need to clear her own name. The narrative includes flashback to WWI and WWII eras even though it is set just after WWII. I found this to be confusing at times and detract from the overall narrative. I think needed information from the past could come out in ways less disruptive to the novel's flow. Still the series shows promise. One cannot help but compare the series to Maisie Dobbs although that series begins a bit earlier. The author leaves an opening for a relationship to develop between the detective and Lane.
Profile Image for Carolyn F..
3,421 reviews51 followers
March 18, 2018
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were some inconsistencies of hair color. The raspberry subterfuge was so ridiculous a child could have figured it out. And the plot took forever to finally move along, but other than that I really enjoyed the book, enjoyed the characters, enjoyed the landscape. I'm planning on reading more of this series.
Profile Image for Veronica .
754 reviews177 followers
January 2, 2023
The cover is what drew me but it turned into an enjoyable read. I love mystery series that are set in quaint locations that are populated by quirky characters.
3,025 reviews1,732 followers
January 4, 2022
What a great find on audible plus! Canadian author, Canadian setting and the post WWII era holds special appeal. I found Lane to be an unexpected heroine. I thought she'd be brash and tough after her war time experiences but she isn't at all. Instead she's an appealing mix of war weary operative and hopeful twenty-something setting out to make a fresh start...far away from the painful memories that continue to plague her. And she's younger than I thought she'd be as well -- mid-twenties -- which sometimes makes her seem more naive then she really is which adds complexity to her character.

The mystery is cleverly contrived and I enjoyed following along with Lane's analytical investigation as she (unofficially) tries to figure out the murderer living among them. She's become a suspect so she has to clear her name of course! :-) Loved (and hated) all the secondary characters and the way they brought added layers to the mystery. She brings in their backstories which made actions both past and present understandable. I enjoyed this multi-POV mystery (though Lane is definitely the 'star') and I will definitely be continuing this series.
Profile Image for Jocelyn H.
185 reviews5 followers
April 11, 2019
I really enjoyed this. The first in a series of mystery novels that take place in a small fictional village in BC's Kootenay Mountains. It takes place in 1946 and features a young woman who was a British Secret Service agent during the war and who reluctantly helps to solve a murder in her new community. It somewhat brings to mind Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, albeit a less glitzy, Canadian version, mainly in the way that people perhaps underestimate Lane Winslow, and the way that she gets involved and attempts to help the local police detective and constable. I look forward to reading on in the series!
982 reviews
March 10, 2018
perhaps I am being harsh because this is the third consecutive poorly-written mystery I've picked up. Plenty of promise here in terms of characters and set up, but the author cannot write in a way that creates interest or tension--at least for me. Complicated plot--multiple time settings matter. But i think this one is in the one-and-done category. Unless I hear that subsequent ones are just great. Sigh.
Profile Image for Sameen Boparai.
3 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2021
This was a pleasant read in terms of envisioning myself living an idylic life in rural British Columbia. However, the plot dragged on way too long and the outcome wasn't that surprising. For a mystery novel, the main character wasn't very good at sleuthing or putting together clues. The ending was definitely a page turner, but it lacked that "Aha!" moment that a good mystery has. The writing was fine, but not great.
Profile Image for Ruth Linka.
33 reviews11 followers
September 4, 2018
A great first book in a series featuring a female sleuth. She’s a lovely character who was a spy during the second world war in England and has moved to rural BC to get away from her old life. I look forward to more in the series.
Profile Image for Marta.
49 reviews
August 1, 2017
**1/2 Way too long. It could benefit from some editing. Also very predictable for a mystery.
Profile Image for Tamara.
312 reviews1 follower
March 17, 2021
This was a cute story, not my usual genre. Pretty decent first novel, a bit wordy at times, and some unnecessary repetition but overall good. a solid story line that i quite liked.
1,402 reviews25 followers
August 17, 2019
Read this a couple weeks ago and was super into really everything about this. I always enjoy a secret!spy! past. Plus an amateur detective. And also, this is a rare cozy mystery series set in Canada. Also, I was very aware while reading it that Lane and Darling (especially Darling) are essentially my grandparent's generation. I would also say, it felt very Canadian in feel (it's set in rural BC), and in how it portrayed Canadian experiences of WWII (from what I've heard of them). Also, I just really enjoyed Lane and Darling's dynamics in this one. And both characters.
Profile Image for Sue Smith.
1,214 reviews54 followers
April 7, 2022
A great story of a very unexpected murder in a very sleepy town deep in the Canadian Rockies, seemingly on the heels of the arrival of a 'new' girl that has moved to town. A new girl that has secrets of her own that she was hoping not to have to reveal. But when it happens in her backyard and the murder victim has her name in his pocket ..... it complicates matters.

Fun and quick paced with all the quirky people you expect in a out of the way town, but also some good ones too.... and handsome to boot.

Should be a fun series!
Profile Image for Helio.
451 reviews67 followers
March 1, 2020
It might be bit harsh only giving this three stars but it was not as good as the second book in the series which was a solid four stars. If I had not read the second book first I may not have finished this one. It didn't get going until page 60. There may be two reasons the author spent so much time on the characters 1) to introduce them all and 2) to create a sense of an idyllic community but it was a yawn and I didn't pay attention (to my detriment) which made it a bit harder following later on.

The pace picked up after halfway and it became a page turner almost good as book two but didn't make up for the slow start. Some things bothered me such as not following up on fingerprinting on the car (how long could that take?). It mentioned there were only party lines in the rural areas but not in Nelson itself. That was not true we had party lines up to 1959 or 1960 but I suppose in Ms Whishaw's Nelson there is no reason they had to have party lines.

A thing that I thought might be wrong was how hot Nelson got. It wasn't hot during the 50s and 60s when I lived there but apparently it was extremely hot in the 40s. My Mom says it was so hot she couldn't stay at the beach and my uncle says it was so hot he would get sunburns through his shirts and hat.

The mystery was well thought out and as with other mystery writers I marvel at their capacity to weave a story but also appreciate if it is not drawn out.
Profile Image for Beverly.
491 reviews7 followers
October 15, 2017
I was really looking forward to this book, being set post WW II in British Colombia, and being toted as a book for those who love Bess Crawford and Maisie Dobbs. I have to confess it really took me awhile to get into this story. The beginning felt disjointed and I was frustrated rather than enticed by the things that were left hidden and unsaid in the waiting for Lane's past to be revealed.
I am glad I stuck with it however. The story of this small village in the interior of BC near Nelson being shaken up by a murder of a stranger in their midst began to gain momentum. The interesting residence, with their personal pains and joys that were slowly being discovered over the course of the investigation and as Lane became more acquainted with her new neighbours, added to my growing interest. And then the story of Lane, who had moved to this remote region with the hope of regaining a sense of peace and hope for her future that had been scarred by her involvements in the war began to take shape and I found I enjoyed seeing how Lane had grown during that time.
I look forward to trying a second helping if Iona Whishaw is dishing up any more Lane Winslow mysteries.
Profile Image for Nicole (bookish.canuck).
43 reviews11 followers
March 11, 2019
A solid start to a new-to-me Canadian mystery series! I love the time period of the series and although I found the writing to be a bit lacking in description at points I think there is a lot of promise in this story! Lane is a great character with a lot of her past to still be explored and I feel that all the other resident of King's Cove have much more to their stories as well. The mystery was good, however I did *mostly* solve the murder quite a bit before the end of the book. Overall I will definitely be continuing this series as I think it has a lot of potential and I can't wait to see how it develops.
Profile Image for Kayla Heffner.
145 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2017
I read the back of this book and thought it sounded really good. It took me 100 pages to get into it before the murder even happened. Incredibly predictable and slow developing plot. Some chapters nothing even happened, just small town people talking. I really didn't care for the writing style either. It jumped narratives mid chapter and was just repetitive details or inner dialogue from the character that was just fluff writing.
Profile Image for Tony Hisgett.
2,603 reviews25 followers
August 26, 2019
The publicity blurb for this book starts with; ” A smart and enchanting postwar mystery written for fans of the Maisie Dobbs”. This is a bold claim and completely untrue. The only thing Lane Winslow has in common with Maisie Dobbs is they are both women.
1,004 reviews6 followers
June 28, 2020
A new series for me - set in Nelson, BC, post WWII. I found it a bit long, and unnecessarily convoluted in some spots, but I suspect that being the first in a series, characters, place, and plot all needed to be introduced. A satisfying read, nonetheless.
Profile Image for Robin Howard.
145 reviews
September 19, 2023
1940s British woman secret agent cozy coastal murder mystery with a charming ensemble cast set in British Columbia? What more could I ask for?
327 reviews5 followers
January 11, 2020
I liked the setting of the book and want to live in the main character’s house, but the mystery itself felt oddly paced - very slow boil, then rushed and choppy at the end.
Profile Image for Danielle.
122 reviews
June 28, 2022
This was a fun mystery with a cool setting and interesting characters! I’m excited there’s so many more in the series, will have to read some more of them.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews

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