Yukon Territory, 1898. A stabbing in a back alley is not unusual in Dawson, but the victim’s final words shock Fiona MacGillivray. The beautiful owner of the Savoy Saloon and Dancehall cannot even repeat them to the man she most admires, Corporal Richard Sterling of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Meanwhile, foreigners bringing their politics from Europe roil Dawson like a rip tide. A beautiful American photographer arrives in town just as a Russian nobleman departs for the Capitol in Washington. A “protective” father puts his innocent daughter on the stage, interfering with the British magician’s act. When the RCMP connects the murder to someone with a secret history, will it be one of them – or Fiona?
The shifting point of view, from Fiona to her teenaged son to Cpl. Sterling, is almost as distracting as clichés like “grizzled” old men, eyes like “deep pools,” and “red-nosed drinkers.” That aside, Delany uses international politics and immigrant backgrounds in interesting ways to deliver another light mystery (after Gold Fever, 2012) with an interesting protagonist.