Thursday, January 18, 2018

Seaweed Under Water by Stanley Evans

Image from amazon

Stanley Evans has created a memorable detective in Sergeant Silas Seaweed of the Victoria Police Department. As he works toward solving the crime, readers learn tidbits about the capital's history and glimpse some Coast Salish spiritual beliefs.

This romp of a police procedural employs all the usual suspects along with a few ghosts and spirits. We follow Silas through tough bars and greasy spoons. Aboard a yacht, he meets a scheming siren whose intentions toward him are ambivalent. Local references are amusing and philosophical. The sly wit and clever turns of phrase of narrator Silas surprise and delight. His apt descriptions evoke the sleazy club called Pinky's, with its band that "belonged in a garage," its speakers "the size of coffins" and its classic yet fresh Belfast-born bartender.

On learning that a colleague from the era of "bent witnesses and rubber hoses" is retiring, Silas waxes philosophical. Besides a silver plaque from the Victoria City Council, he muses, Bradley Sunderland will have little "to show for his years on the force" but "citations for assault, drunkenness, dereliction of duty and persistent tardiness." Oh - and "a boiler-plated pension."

The loaner car that is supposed to replace his MG while it's in the shop is "as responsive as a bad date," and Chef Lou does "a very creditable imitation of whirling dervishes around his hotplate." One of the villains shows up with "purple crescents under his eyes." But, thinks Silas, "if he wasn't the best-dressed logger on the coast, Prince Charles doesn't play polo."

Proud of his way with words, the silver-tongued sergeant teases his boss for being "the master of single entendre." When pressed by a lady for a good Chardonnay he doesn't have, he describes the home made plonk in his fridge as redolent of "berries and English crumpets."

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