Delany, Vicki 1951-
Delany, Vicki 1951-
Born 1951, in Winnipeg, Canada; children: three daughters. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking and quilting.
Home—Oakville, Ontario, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer and systems analyst.
Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime.
EPPIE Award for best mainstream novel published electronically and semi-finalist in Chapters' Robertson Davies First-Novel Competition, both 2000, both for Whiteout; EPPIE Award for best mystery, 2004, for Murder at Lost Dog Lake.
Whiteout, LTDBooks (Oakville, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
Murder at Lost Dog Lake, NewConcepts Publishing (Lake Park, GA), 2003.
Scare the Light Away, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2005.
Golddigger, Wolf Creek Books (Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada), 2006.
Burden of Memory, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2006.
In the Shadow of the Glacier, Poisoned Pen Press (Scottsdale, AZ), 2007.
Also contributor of stories to anthologies, including Bloody Words: The Anthology, Baskerville Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003. Editor, Sisters in Crime, Toronto Chapter, newsletter.
A computer systems analyst by day and author of suspense novels by night, Vicki Delany has made her love of the Canadian wilderness a signature of her novels, which include Whiteout, about a mystery in a snowstorm; Murder at Lost Dog Lake, about a wilderness canoe trip in Algonquin Park; and Scare the Light Away, about a prodigal daughter returning to Ontario after a thirty-year absence. "I want to write what I love," Delany wrote in a statement posted at her home page. "The trees and rocks and lakes and rivers of Canada are where I want to be, so I put my characters there." Indeed, Delany does spend time in the wilds of Canada, hiking and researching her next book.
Her 2005 novel, Scare the Light Away, the first of Delany's books to be published in the United States, received considerable praise. It tells the story of Rebecca McKenzie, who returns to her hometown of Hope River, Ontario, for her mother's funeral. While there, she discovers her mother's diaries—which are full of shocking revelations about the mother's difficult life in Canada as a newlywed, oppressed by an alcoholic and emotionally abusive father-in-law after her husband's departure for military service. To complicate matters further, a young girl in Hope River has been murdered, and suspicion has fallen on Rebecca's brother, the family's black sheep. Dick Adler, writing in the Chicago Tribune, observed that "Delany does everything right, adding enough twists to a familiar story to make her Hope River … the place from which we all could have escaped." Booklist contributor Jenny McLarin hailed Scare the Light Away as an "an outstanding debut novel" in which Delany "mixes a compelling crime story with a vivid evocation of small-town hostility." Several other reviewers admired the novel as well, including a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who found Delany "adept at ratcheting up the emotional tension." A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that the "well-crafted storytelling and an evocative setting make for a rewarding debut."
Delany goes farther north for the setting of Golddigger, which takes place during the Yukon Gold Rush of 1898. The plot centers on protagonist Fiona MacGillivray, a woman determined to make her fortune as a dance-hall owner. Her efforts are thwarted by a large cast of hustlers and other colorful characters, as well as by a murder that sets the town on edge.
Burden of Memory, called "a breath of fresh air from north of the border" by a Publishers Weekly reviewer, returns to rural Ontario as struggling writer Elaine Benson takes a new job assisting elderly Moira Madison, a former World War II Canadian Army nurse, with her memoirs. Before long Elaine begins to sense a dark secret beneath Miss Madison's surface charm, which she fears the Madison family will do anything to keep from being revealed. While Stephanie Zvirin, writing in Booklist, felt that the novel's "hints of mystery and the supernatural … never expand into real suspense," the Publishers Weekly contributor enjoyed Delany's skillful creation of narrative tension as well as her spot-on descriptions of Canada's social elite.
Several sociopolitical themes of modern-day Canada converge in In the Shadow of the Glacier: wilderness vs. preservation, and the legacy of U.S. draft dodgers who fled to Canada to avoid military conscription during the Vietnam War. As the novel begins, Reginald Montgomery is found dead from a single blow to the head in the idyllic rural town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. A wealthy developer, Montgomery had planned to build a big tourist resort in the area to bring jobs and money to the community. Montgomery had also been the chief opponent of another major project that is dividing town residents: a proposed peace garden to honor American draft resisters. Assigned to investigate the murder is Constable Molly Smith, newly widowed and daughter of a draft dodger and his activist wife. As she struggles to win the confidence of her veteran partner, DS John Winters, and to analyze relevant clues, Molly must also deal with her parents' disapproval of her choice of career. Though Booklist reviewer Sue O'Brien considered Molly an "unlikely police officer," the critic found the protagonist a likable character and added that the novel establishes the foundations of a "promising series."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2005, Jenny McLarin, review of Scare the Light Away, p. 1063; May 1, 2006, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Burden of Memory, p. 26; July 1, 2007, Sue O'Brien, review of In the Shadow of the Glacier, p. 35.
Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2005, Dick Adler, review of Scare the Light Away.
Internet Bookwatch, November, 2006, "Poisoned Pen Press."
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of Scare the Light Away, p. 150; June 1, 2007, review of In the Shadow of the Glacier.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2005, review of Scare the Light Away, p. 161; April 24, 2006, review of Burden of Memory, p. 42; July 30, 2007, review of In the Shadow of the Glacier, p. 59.
BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (February 28, 2008), Mary Ann Smyth, review of Burden of Memory.
Mysterious Reviews,http://www.mysteriousreviews.com/ (February 28, 2008), review of In the Shadow of the Glacier.
Romance Readers Connection,http://www.theromancereadersconnection.com/ (March 17, 2008), Mellanie Crowther, review of Whiteout.
Vicki Delany Home Page,http://murderexpress.bravepages.com/vickidelany (February 28, 2008).