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Ted Wood.

New York, Scribner's, c1983.
(A Scribner Crime Novel).
Distributed by Wiley.
170pp, cloth, $13.95.
ISBN 0-684-17958-X.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Adèle Ashby.

Volume 12 Number 1
1984 January

Canada is beginning to produce its very own world-class crime fiction. We have Howard Engel's Benny Cooperman; Eric Wright's The Night the Gods Smiled* was published this year by the prestigious Collins Crime Club, and now Ted Wood has won the Scribner Crime Novel Award for Dead in the Water. The water is in the Muskoka Lakes country where Reid Bennett runs the one-person police force of Murphy's Harbour, assisted by a crippled World War II vet. The only family he has is Sam, his big black-and-tan German Shepherd police dog. Bennett has come to this quiet resort town for a respite from the after effects of a violent incident that occurred while he served on the Metro Toronto Police force, an incident that ruined his career and his marriage. But the calm of Murphy's Harbour is shattered by the appearance of two corpses, a cache of drugs, and a gaggle of strangers.

Wood has got it right. Muskoka is a perfect setting for the clash of tightly-knit locals and mysterious strangers'. Bennett is grittily believable. The story is fast-paced, tight, and tough, and the relationship between Bennett and Sam adds a note of welcome warmth. Any collection of Canadian crime fiction will not be large, but it will be a high quality one. Dead in the Water is a worthy addition.

*Reviewed vol. XI/4 July 1983 p.157.

Adèle Ashby, Toronto, ON
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