Friday, 23 November 2012
Deadly Slipper by Michelle Wan
I'm not sure where I came across this author, though it might have been in my local paper since Ms. Wan lives in Guelph, Ontario, which is the next town east from here. As I was sending an email to a friend who loves orchids, I thought that if I am willing to suggest this book and author to her, then I should be willing to read it myself. I immediately requested it from my library. I'm glad I did, at it was a very enjoyable and informative read.
The story is set in the Dordogne region in the south west of France, where Mara Dunn is trying to find out what happened to her twin sister, Bedie, who disappreared nineteen years earlier. While it is definitely a long shot, Mara needs to get on with her life, and knowing what really happened to her sister will let her do that.
Recently, she found a loaded camera that she is convinced was owned by her sister, and has had the deteriorated film processed and prints made. She has travelled to the Dordogne area to consult with orchid expert Julian Wood to see if he is able to identify the locations shown in the photos. The police have already told Mara that there is not enough identifying features in the photos, but she is determined to learn the truth.
Julian feels there is no chance of finding where these photos were taken, let alone finding Bedie, but he is fascinated with the final photo. The extremely rare Cyripedium, Lady's Slipper, could not be growing in this area, yet there it is, clearly photographed. If only he could find it....
The descriptions of the Dordogne are were so vivid, I almost felt as though I had been there. It's not an area I knew anything about, but now would be happy to travel there and search for wild orchid, walking the same trails as Mara and Bedie(skip the death part though). That is, after I get back from the shop where I want to buy myself some potted orchids. Since reading this novel, I have been looking in the stores for a colour and shape of orchid that appeals to me.
Food is a significant part of this book. Several times, the main characters meet in pubs/cafes to discuss how to find the locations in the photos. The descriptions of the other diners and Julian's mates are quite realistic. Dog lovers are not left out of this story. There are few that recur in the story and further the plot.
Early on, I thought that I had figured out who killed Bedie, but subsequent evidence was presented, that had me doubting myself. I was ready to convict the wrong party. Then sure enough, further activities brought me back around to my original suspicions, though for different reasons. I was totally caught off guard by some of the revelations in the conclusion.
Deadly Slipper is the first book in a four part series. I do plan to read more about orchids in the Dordogne region of France.
Titles in this Series:
The Orchid Shroud
A Twist of Orchids
Kill for an Orchid
Website of author Michelle Wan
Also reviewed by:
John at The Book Mine Set
Thank-you to Chapters.ca for use of the cover image.