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A Door in the River: A Hazel Micallef Mystery    by Inger Ash Wolfe order for
Door in the River
by Inger Ash Wolfe
Order:  USA  Can
McClelland & Stewart, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I have enjoyed the Hazel Micallef mysteries (The Calling and The Taken) since their beginning. The indomitable sixty-something Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has been acting chief for the last six years of the Port Dundas police in Ontario, Canada - she's good at what she does and doesn't let age, the opinions of her superiors (who consider her a policing dinosaur) - or increasing infirmity - get in the way.

The divorced Hazel shares a home with her spry eighty-seven year old mother Emily. The town's ex-mayor, Emily is usually just as strong-willed as her daughter, but recently seems to be losing the will to carry on, causing her daughter great anxiety. DC James Wingate (a gay cop who moved to Port Dundas from big city policing) has difficulty with Hazel's maverick ways, but always has ber back.

As this episode opens, the town's hardware store owner (always helpful and liked by all) Henry Wiest is found dead in a cigarette store parking lot on a First Nation reserve. Hazel wonders what he could have been doing there as he didn't smoke. Though her colleagues believe he died of a heart attack, Hazel suspects something more and pursues the case like a bloodhound.

As Hazel investigates - and deals with the installation of her once colleague, Ray Greene, as her new boss - the author shows readers a desperate young runaway, Larysa, who seems to have something to do with Henry's death, but is also being pursued. What is her story? Finding out takes Hazel to encounters with reservation police and to a casino that serves as a front for something deeper and darker.

It's a tense investigation, that puts James Wingate in a perilous situation, and makes Hazel realize that 'she loved him like a son.' And though her bosses complain of her 'unusual tactics' and 'jurisdictional irregularities', they turn out to have her back too. It's hard not to become fond of Hazel as you read this series and I enjoyed A Door in the River very much, even the twist Wolfe inserted in the ending.

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