Edie Kiglatuk’s Christmas (Edie Kiglatuk Mystery #1.5), by M.J. McGrath

Four stars

In this wonderful short story, McGrath includes perennial favourite Edie Kiglatuk in an Arctic mystery to entertain readers. On the winter solstice, there is little to celebrate in Canada’s Arctic. Frigid temperatures, no sunlight, and on this occasion, the body of Tommy Qataq, a gash on the back of his head as he clings to life. When approached by the authorities to assist with the mystery, Edie has ideas of her own and goes in search of Willie Killik. Both Willie and Tommy are former pupils of Edie’s, and she uses her knowledge of their rocky friendship to determine what might have happened. As Edie searches for Willie, she discovers that he has little going for him, in a community so isolated as to offer few effective ‘outs’. When Tommy’s daughter is snatched from her crib, the hunt intensifies and Edie must now find Willie to ensure that nothing happens to the child. Her hunt leads her to a clearing and a magical Christmas discovery that turns the entire sombre event into something magical. A great (quick) read for those who love the Edie Kiglatuk series, or new followers of McGrath alike.

I am thoroughly impressed with McGrath’s series, depicting life in Canada’s High Arctic. Not only does the country get some interesting coverage, but the Inuit angle is unique and plays out well in the novels. McGrath uses her experience in the region to paint wonderfully accurate characters who also shine light on life away from the big-city lights, where locals must subsist off the land. Presenting a culture shock to many readers, McGrath does a masterful job and should be applauded for the hard work and determination her novels bring in highlighting the plight and lifestyle of Canada’s Inuit population.

Kudos, Madam McGrath for this touching addition to the series, which has so much to offer readers.