Monday, February 17, 2014
North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo
3.5 stars for this one! I really enjoyed all the unique elements that make this mystery work. The main character, a Russian descended heiress apparent to a perfume company, incorporates the sense of smell in her life in a way I've never witnessed. She relies on her nose for information as often as I would rely on my other senses. I found this fascinating! I'm guilty of using my sense of smell trivially, to determine if dinner is done, to purchase the just-right fabric softener, or to enjoy those perfume fliers in magazines but I've clearly not given the sense of smell its due justice. Pirio's nose knows! Add to that her study of Russian novels, her precocious and often abandoned godson, and her determination to solve an environmental crime that will rip at your heart strings and you've got a winner. Novels that tackle difficult subjects often include numerous elements of convenience. The victims just happen to have access to multiple, fully-stocked safe rooms. The crime solver just happens to speak Portuguese street slang. These things are often necessary to make the plot work but end up coming across as too-convenient contrivances that couldn't possibly occur in a true-to-life course of events. I can't put my finger on how she's done it but Elisabeth Elo has crafted a story that utilizes the unique capabilities and resources her characters possess without creating a patchwork of too-easy "lucky breaks". I sobbed and cheered my way through the end of North of Boston and it did not disappoint. I'll keep my eye out for more from Elisabeth Elo.
You will find an official plot line description at: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18079779-north-of-boston?from_search=true.