In The Post: The Night Bell, Inger Ash Wolfe

A while ago, I stumbled upon a new author by the name of Inger Ash Wolfe, somewhat literally. I was at a used bookstore and while perusing mystery section, Wolfe's The Calling fell off the shelf (and onto me). As any logical person might do, I took this as a sign from the Universe, opened the book and began reading. Three chapters later, I pulled myself out of the book and bought it. 

"Inger Ash Wolfe," the book jacket stated, "is a pseudonym for a North American literary novelist."

Pseudonymous Wolfe's identity was a mystery for several years, with many people guessing at his/her true identity. (The book jacket said Wolfe was a North American author, not just an "American" author and the stories take place in Canada, so many speculated the author was, in fact, Canadian). 

In 2012, Canadian author & playwright Michael Redhill took ownership of the series. In Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef, he writes an amazingly flawed and compelling character — to whom I was almost immediately drawn. When we're introduced to DI Micallef, she's addicted to pain pills, recovering from a divorce and faced with the inconceivable notion that her small Canadian town has been the victim of a serial killer. Her character is raw and gritty, sometimes likable, sometimes not. 

Recently, (back in the real world) Katie McGuire of Pegasus Books, Ltd. contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in reading the latest Hazel Micallef. (And since I'd not yet acquired the book, I said 'Yes Please & Thank You!') The book arrived today and will be added to the to-read pile.

Redhill as Inger Ash Wolfe has written 4 Hazel Micallef novels:


The Calling (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008)

Synopsis: "Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than grace. Hobbled by a bad back and a dependence on painkillers, and feeling blindsided by divorce after nearly four decades of marriage, sixty-one-year-old Hazel has only the constructive criticism of her old goat of a mother and her own sharp tongue to buoy her. But when a terminally ill Port Dundas woman is gruesomely murdered in her own home, Hazel and her understaffed department must spring to life. And as one terminally ill victim after another is found—their bodies drained of blood, their mouths sculpted into strange shapes—Hazel finds herself tracking a truly terrifying serial killer across the country while everything she was barely holding together begins to spin out of control."


Publishers Weekly starred review


Released in Canada a few days prior to the U.S. and the U.K. release (no print run numbers found).
Signed firsts list for $30-$100 USD
Unsigned: list for $20-$50



The Taken (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010)

Synopsis: "Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef is having a bad year. After major back surgery, she has no real option but to move into her ex-husband’s basement and suffer the humiliation of his new wife bringing her meals down on a tray. As if that weren’t enough, Hazel’s octogenarian mother secretly flushes Hazel’s stash of painkillers down the toilet.
 
It’s almost a relief when Hazel gets a call about a body fished up by tourists in one of the lakes near Port Dundas. But what raises the hair on the back of Micallef ’s neck is that the local paper has just published the first installment of a serialized story featuring such a scenario. Even before they head out to the lake with divers to recover the body, she and DC James Wingate, leading the police detachment in Micallef ’s absence, know they are being played. But it’s not clear who is pulling their strings and why, nor is what they find at the lake at all what they expected. It’s Micallef herself who is snared, caught up in a cryptic game devised by someone who knows how to taunt her into opening a cold case, someone who knows that nothing will stop her investigation."


Publishers Weekly starred review 

Kirkus starred review


Signed firsts list for $50
Unsigned list for $40



A Door in the River (Pegasus Books, Ltd., 2012)

Synopsis: "Stinging deaths aren't uncommon in the summertime, but when Henry Wiest turns up stung to death at an Indian reservation, Detective Hazel Micallef senses not all is as it seems.  And when it turns out the "bee" was a diabolical teenaged girl on a murder spree with a strange weapon, a dark and twisted crime begins to slowly emerge.  The questions, contradictions, and bodies begin to mount, as two separate police forces struggle to work together to save the soul of Westmuir County."

No listings on Abebooks.com



The Night Bell (Pegasus Books, Ltd., 2015)

Synopsis: "The Night Bell moves between the past and the present in Port Dundas, Ontario, as two mysteries converge. A discovery of the bones of murdered children is made on land that was once a county foster home. Now it's being developed as a brand new subdivision whose first residents are already railing against broken promises and corruption. But when three of these residents are murdered after the discovery of the children's bones, frustration turns to terror. 
While trying to stem the panic and solve two crimes at once, Hazel Micallef finds her memory stirred back to the fall of 1959, when the disappearance of a girl from town was blamed on her adopted brother. Although he is long dead, she begins to see the present case as a chance to clear her brother's name, something that drives Hazel beyond her own considerable limits and right into the sights of an angry killer."

No listings on Abebooks.com


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