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Valley of the Lost

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In the bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. While this should be an open-and-shut drug case, restraint marks on the victim suggest that the death might not have been completely accidental. As the investigation into the young womanas death and life grows, the case becomes increasi In the bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. While this should be an open-and-shut drug case, restraint marks on the victim suggest that the death might not have been completely accidental. As the investigation into the young womanas death and life grows, the case becomes increasingly personal for Probationary Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters. Only two things are known about the dead woman: her first name is Ashley, and she has a three-month-old baby boy. Who was she? And was this is just a drug deal gone wrong, or is there something more sinister at play? Smithas mother, Lucky, has taken in the orphaned baby: does he hold the key to solving his motheras murder? Meanwhile, Wintersa wife, Eliza, is considering accepting a modeling contract with the same resort development that seems to be ripping the close-knit community apart. Has the controversial project pushed a member of this quiet community to murder? Valley of the Lost is the sequel to In the Shadow of the Glacier.


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In the bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. While this should be an open-and-shut drug case, restraint marks on the victim suggest that the death might not have been completely accidental. As the investigation into the young womanas death and life grows, the case becomes increasi In the bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. While this should be an open-and-shut drug case, restraint marks on the victim suggest that the death might not have been completely accidental. As the investigation into the young womanas death and life grows, the case becomes increasingly personal for Probationary Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters. Only two things are known about the dead woman: her first name is Ashley, and she has a three-month-old baby boy. Who was she? And was this is just a drug deal gone wrong, or is there something more sinister at play? Smithas mother, Lucky, has taken in the orphaned baby: does he hold the key to solving his motheras murder? Meanwhile, Wintersa wife, Eliza, is considering accepting a modeling contract with the same resort development that seems to be ripping the close-knit community apart. Has the controversial project pushed a member of this quiet community to murder? Valley of the Lost is the sequel to In the Shadow of the Glacier.

30 review for Valley of the Lost

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Probationary Constable Molly Smith of Trafalgar, a small town in the Kootenays in British Columbia, finds herself accompanying Detective Sergeant John Winters to the center where her Mom volunteers when her mother discovers an abandoned baby and his "mother" murdered nearby. It appears to be a case of a heroin overdose, but those closest to her know she gave up drugs and was unlikely to return to them. The woman used a fake name, making it difficult to notify next of kin, and the two people most Probationary Constable Molly Smith of Trafalgar, a small town in the Kootenays in British Columbia, finds herself accompanying Detective Sergeant John Winters to the center where her Mom volunteers when her mother discovers an abandoned baby and his "mother" murdered nearby. It appears to be a case of a heroin overdose, but those closest to her know she gave up drugs and was unlikely to return to them. The woman used a fake name, making it difficult to notify next of kin, and the two people most likely to know about her past--her roommate and a counselor who recently returned to Trafalgar from Vancouver--are not cooperating with the police. Molly's mother takes the baby home to care for him until the next of kin can be located. The baby disrupts life in the household. A controversial development courts Sergeant Winters' wife Eliza to star in an advertisement for the planned resort. Officials launch an investigation into Trafalgar's role in illegal trafficking. The ending provides some hints of what might be to come in the series. This is a solid police procedural on the cozier rather than noir side. I listened to the audio version. (3.5 stars)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    2.5 stars. Why the heck is Molly kidnapped a second time in this book? Is the author intending to make the rookie police officer nothing but a damsel in distress? I get that Molly encounters not only casual sexism from her fellow officers, and also verbal and physical assaults from men and some women when she's on patrol or aiding in an investigation, but I don't think having her get rescued twice in two books is helping me see her as someone learning and growing into her job. The next book bette 2.5 stars. Why the heck is Molly kidnapped a second time in this book? Is the author intending to make the rookie police officer nothing but a damsel in distress? I get that Molly encounters not only casual sexism from her fellow officers, and also verbal and physical assaults from men and some women when she's on patrol or aiding in an investigation, but I don't think having her get rescued twice in two books is helping me see her as someone learning and growing into her job. The next book better improve.....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I am enjoying this series set in Trafalgar, a small town in the Kootenays in British Columbia. The scenery is beautiful and the mysteries are very satisfying.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Hmm... I have a fear that this will be another series that I am unsure if I like it, and another protagonist where I am unsure if I like her, but that I keep reading to keep trying to figure it out. Ah well, I get the books from the library so it costs me nothing more than time that I am spending on my transit commute anyway... I really am unsure if I like Molly, but am leaning more towards no. Fortunately, in this book she does not have a really strong role. Instead, John Winters reads as the pr Hmm... I have a fear that this will be another series that I am unsure if I like it, and another protagonist where I am unsure if I like her, but that I keep reading to keep trying to figure it out. Ah well, I get the books from the library so it costs me nothing more than time that I am spending on my transit commute anyway... I really am unsure if I like Molly, but am leaning more towards no. Fortunately, in this book she does not have a really strong role. Instead, John Winters reads as the protagonist, and I am liking him more than I did in the first book. Molly, on the other hand, is cooling down for me. She is so totally bland as a character, especially one who is supposed to be a protagonist. She also seems not very bright. E.g. she seriously thinks an otherwise healthy baby will starve, to death, from not having eaten for more than a few hours?!? OK, true she might not know anything about babies. But, does she know nothing about the world? All over the planet families including their infants, unfortunately, do not have enough food. They go for days without food, but Molly is worried about a few hours? And, she has experience working in poor neighbourhoods, where people have had to make difficult choices about finances? Who is that clueless?!? After that, the plot plods along. Not spectacular, not terrible, just plods along. I am not sure that I cared about all of the side stories and information about the characters' off-hours lives. But, at the same time, I am not sure that I disliked having this information either. These scenes add a bit to the book but also slow down the pace of the story. Yup, I am afraid that this will be one of those series where I keep reading and reading trying to decide if I actually like it or not. Fortunately, my library has the next one of the series too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Olivermagnus

    This is the second book in the Constable Molly Smith series, set in Trafalgar, British Columbia. In this one, Molly's mother finds a baby lying next to a dead woman. She is surprised to discover the baby is still alive. She calls the police and her constable daughter, Molly, along with Detective Sergeant John Winters start their investigation. Initially it looks like the young mother overdosed on heroin, but all evidence points to the fact that she's been off drugs for over a year. When the auto This is the second book in the Constable Molly Smith series, set in Trafalgar, British Columbia. In this one, Molly's mother finds a baby lying next to a dead woman. She is surprised to discover the baby is still alive. She calls the police and her constable daughter, Molly, along with Detective Sergeant John Winters start their investigation. Initially it looks like the young mother overdosed on heroin, but all evidence points to the fact that she's been off drugs for over a year. When the autopsy reveals she has never given birth, the investigation expands to try and find out who the baby is and who his real parents are. At the same time, the tension in Trafalgar is high over a resort that has been proposed by a group of developers. Many in Trafalgar's population are ex-hippies who moved to Trafalgar during the Vietnam war and they oppose any kind of development for the town. We also meet a lot of different characters which helps give the book some real twists and turns. The contrast between the peaceful community of Trafalgar and big money land development, drug trade, and murder make this an intriguing mystery. I read the first book of this series last month and liked it enough to buy the second one. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone mystery. I feel like the characters are developing nicely. The strong secondary characters, especially Molly's mother, Lucky, are exceptionally well done. I think this neither a cozy mystery nor a gritty mystery, but a traditional mystery combined with an interesting police procedural. I love the setting of British Columbia and definitely plan to follow up with the next book in the series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ed

    #2 in the Constable Molly Smith series. Enjoyable read in this series about a probationary female constable in a rural British Columbia town. The writing in this 2009 entry is more under control than it was in the debut of the series, In the Shadow of the Glacier (2007). If I still have a quibble, it's that the plot (and villain) is predictable. But the main character is enjoyable, her family dynamic is hilarious, and her law enforcement colleagues are interesting. In the town of Trafalgar, Briti #2 in the Constable Molly Smith series. Enjoyable read in this series about a probationary female constable in a rural British Columbia town. The writing in this 2009 entry is more under control than it was in the debut of the series, In the Shadow of the Glacier (2007). If I still have a quibble, it's that the plot (and villain) is predictable. But the main character is enjoyable, her family dynamic is hilarious, and her law enforcement colleagues are interesting. In the town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. While this should be an open-and-shut drug case, restraint marks on the victim suggest that the death might not have been completely accidental. As the investigation into the young woman’s death and life grows, the case becomes increasingly personal for Probationary Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters. Only two things are known about the dead woman: her first name is Ashley, and she has a three-month-old baby boy. Smith’s mother, Lucky, has taken in the lost baby: does he hold the key to solving his mother’s murder? In the meantime, Winters’ wife, Eliza, is considering a modeling contract with the same resort development that seems to be ripping the community apart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bedrooped Bookworms

    Lucky Smith, Molly's mom, is volunteering at the women's shelter when she hears a cry in the night, and discovers a baby next to a dead body.  The police can't find any traces of who the girl was - and some of her acquaintances aren't giving any more information.  There seems to be some drug involvement...but the baby isn't hers.  Then the book takes a massive twist and turns, creates information out of nowhere that wasn't a part of the story at all...and then the ending is crazy.  What??? I was e Lucky Smith, Molly's mom, is volunteering at the women's shelter when she hears a cry in the night, and discovers a baby next to a dead body.  The police can't find any traces of who the girl was - and some of her acquaintances aren't giving any more information.  There seems to be some drug involvement...but the baby isn't hers.  Then the book takes a massive twist and turns, creates information out of nowhere that wasn't a part of the story at all...and then the ending is crazy.  What??? I was enjoying this book right up until the part where the author suddenly wrote a new plot about 70% in to wrap the whole thing up.  No hint of this earlier, no way you could have seen this coming.  I'm not a fan of that style of mystery writing.  I've enjoyed enough other of Vicki Delany's books that I probably will try the third in this series eventually.  I just need a bit of a break first.  I'm going to go 6 of 10 (would have been closer to an 8 until that ending) and 4 of 5 for readability.  Hopefully the author doesn't pull that crazy stunt again. For more reviews, check out bedroopedbookworms.wordpress.com!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Martin

    Setting: British Columbia, Canada, resort town. The inconveniences for the locals living in an expensive tourist locale are presented well. That's not a factor in the mystery just a reality for the year round residents. I live in a place that gets overrun by seasonal tourism also. It's a familiar situation presented realistically, without griping. Audio: The reader's voice is annoying to me, especially her voice for Constable Molly Smith. That voice conjures up a very different image than the ch Setting: British Columbia, Canada, resort town. The inconveniences for the locals living in an expensive tourist locale are presented well. That's not a factor in the mystery just a reality for the year round residents. I live in a place that gets overrun by seasonal tourism also. It's a familiar situation presented realistically, without griping. Audio: The reader's voice is annoying to me, especially her voice for Constable Molly Smith. That voice conjures up a very different image than the character description in the book. She doubts her abilities but is not described as weak or whiney on the job. I can understand her hanging onto teenage agnst with her parents but that persona/voice should not carryover into her work. I want to read more Canadian authors so I'll continue despite the reader. If the setting was the US I would abandon the series. Style: The author uses a lot of metaphors. That's not something I usually notice so I think it must be considerable. I find myself guessing the conclusion of the metaphor when I hear like or as. The author does respect the reader's intelligence and attention. Everything isn't spoon fed. I like that. It's a big plus for me. Violence: No gore porn or torture. So far it is a light mystery, one death. I'll continue series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dr T

    This is the second in this series set in the Kootenay valley of British Columbia. This story revolves around the murder of an unidentified young woman and an abandoned baby in the town on Trafalgar. As Smith and her superiors try to solve the murder and identify the baby, the case becomes more complicated. Information needed for the reader to solve the mystery is finally presented late in the book, although there are really no surprises along the way. The characters are fairly well developed, bu This is the second in this series set in the Kootenay valley of British Columbia. This story revolves around the murder of an unidentified young woman and an abandoned baby in the town on Trafalgar. As Smith and her superiors try to solve the murder and identify the baby, the case becomes more complicated. Information needed for the reader to solve the mystery is finally presented late in the book, although there are really no surprises along the way. The characters are fairly well developed, building on the first book in this series. A pleasant read, but clearly not among the top ranks of mystery fiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert Scott

    Finished 08/14/2013. Very good story of Molly Smith and her anti war hippie parents and Inspector John Winter. A baby and a young girl's body are found behind the center for aid to young mothers by Lucy "Lucky" Smith, Molly's mom. John's wife is hired to model for an ad campaign for Grizzly Development, a high profile destroyer of the environment, and the baby who is keeping the Smith family awake is the focus of people who killed his mother and plan to do away with him in order to inherit from Finished 08/14/2013. Very good story of Molly Smith and her anti war hippie parents and Inspector John Winter. A baby and a young girl's body are found behind the center for aid to young mothers by Lucy "Lucky" Smith, Molly's mom. John's wife is hired to model for an ad campaign for Grizzly Development, a high profile destroyer of the environment, and the baby who is keeping the Smith family awake is the focus of people who killed his mother and plan to do away with him in order to inherit from a very, very rich man who is about to die.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anna Marie

    Molly is living at home trying to get used to her new job. Winters a detective, sees something in her that indicates she could become a good police officer. So he decides to take her under his tutelage to see what she can do. The mystery in this book has lots of complications, what seems to be a straightforward death just isn't. The characters just seem too clicheist. Will try the next book to see if I'll read the rest of the series. Molly is living at home trying to get used to her new job. Winters a detective, sees something in her that indicates she could become a good police officer. So he decides to take her under his tutelage to see what she can do. The mystery in this book has lots of complications, what seems to be a straightforward death just isn't. The characters just seem too clicheist. Will try the next book to see if I'll read the rest of the series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Micky Cox

    A baby found in the bushes leads to a possibly murdered girl and Constable Molly Smith is once again in the thick of things. Great characters and a well thought out plot keep you listening intently or flipping pages as fast as you can read them to find out what happens next. The audio version is quite well done and the reader enhances the characters personalities with their spin on the voicing. I'm quite intrigued to see what happens in the next book! A baby found in the bushes leads to a possibly murdered girl and Constable Molly Smith is once again in the thick of things. Great characters and a well thought out plot keep you listening intently or flipping pages as fast as you can read them to find out what happens next. The audio version is quite well done and the reader enhances the characters personalities with their spin on the voicing. I'm quite intrigued to see what happens in the next book!

  13. 4 out of 5

    William Mc Callum

    Another very will written romantic thriller mystery in the Constable Molly Smith. The characters are interesting and will developed.The story line is complicated with lots of misdirection leading to the unexpected conclusion. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys will written mysteries. Enjoy reading 📚2020😁💄👠

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cherie Martin

    Story was okay, but not as interesting as the previous book. Whispersync "reader" skipped sections, so I bought Audible copy. Only Chapter 1 downloaded. Twenty four hours later the rest of Audible version showed up. Story was okay, but not as interesting as the previous book. Whispersync "reader" skipped sections, so I bought Audible copy. Only Chapter 1 downloaded. Twenty four hours later the rest of Audible version showed up.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carol C

    Another BC cop mystery I liked this story, maybe a little more polished than the first one of the series.I'm looking forward to #3. Another BC cop mystery I liked this story, maybe a little more polished than the first one of the series.I'm looking forward to #3.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Allen

    An enjoyable mystery series with believable characters and settings.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    I really liked the storyline, however I can't stand Molly or her family. I'd move to Trafalgar, if it were a real place and the Smith family moved out. I really liked the storyline, however I can't stand Molly or her family. I'd move to Trafalgar, if it were a real place and the Smith family moved out.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rita Winkeler

    First of a series that I have read. Going back to read them from book 1. Interesting, easy to read, and enjoyable. Recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    aprilla

    Might come back to the series, maybe

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carrie McCullough Jenkins

    A great Canada-based cozy. Includes a variety of ages in the developed characters. The author avoided the expected ending and flows well.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diane Heath

    3 1/2 stars. Well done but I have read later books in the series so the fact that this is an early book in the series stands out to its detriment.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A light one day listen set in BC by Nelson.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eliece

    So so book. The characters didn't feel fully developed. More like descriptions that an author might write to hype a novel. The storyline was not enthralling. And the writing didn't flow well. So so book. The characters didn't feel fully developed. More like descriptions that an author might write to hype a novel. The storyline was not enthralling. And the writing didn't flow well.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Great series! Enjoyed delving further into the character's back stories while helping to solve a new mystery! Great series! Enjoyed delving further into the character's back stories while helping to solve a new mystery!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    Better than #1

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Ingvaldsen

    The second Constable Molly Smith police procedural set in the Kootenays is another engaging police procedural distinguished by the delightful setting and likeable characters.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Warning: children in danger.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    First Line: The setting sun had slipped behind the mountains, and in the bottom of the valley, long ago carved out of ancient rock by the swift-moving river, the summer's night was hot and close. When Lucky Smith hears a baby cry off in the trees, she goes to see what's wrong. She finds a scared and hungry infant-- and the body of his mother lying close by. Sergeant John Winters of the Trafalgar, British Columbia, police force begins his investigation with the help of Lucky's daughter, Probationa First Line: The setting sun had slipped behind the mountains, and in the bottom of the valley, long ago carved out of ancient rock by the swift-moving river, the summer's night was hot and close. When Lucky Smith hears a baby cry off in the trees, she goes to see what's wrong. She finds a scared and hungry infant-- and the body of his mother lying close by. Sergeant John Winters of the Trafalgar, British Columbia, police force begins his investigation with the help of Lucky's daughter, Probationary Constable Molly Smith. When the two start checking with the people who knew the dead girl, they learn that this isn't a simple case of drug overdose. Something else is going on, but until they discover the girl's true identity, it's going to be very difficult indeed to find out just what that something is. While they're knocking on doors and asking questions, Lucky Smith has appointed herself the child's foster mother, and Winters' wife Eliza is being courted by a controversial new resort's owners to become the face of the place. It had been over a year since I'd read the first book in Vicki Delany's Molly Smith series, and I wondered how quickly I would fall back into the setting and how well I would remember the characters and their backgrounds. I should not have wondered. From the first page, I fell back into Trafalgar as if I'd never left. Never once did I furrow my brow in an attempt to remember a character. As anyone knows who reads a lot of mystery series, this can be a rather rare occurrence. For me to have such excellent recall after a long period of time means one thing: Vicki Delany is an excellent writer who knows how to create memorable characters and settings. (Actually it means two things, the second being that I shouldn't allow so much time to elapse between books in such a good series!) I like the fact that John Winters has a good feeling about Molly and takes the time to work with her and to be a mentor. His experience is going to help her make the right choices in the future. Another (very) refreshing fact about Winters is that he can work with Molly and not lust after her which often seems to be obligatory on both page and screen. Actually, he's even more remarkable because he's happily married to a beautiful woman who's been at the very top of the modeling profession. John and Eliza have been able to have such disparate careers and a very close and loving relationship for years. Molly is still learning as a police officer, and still grieving for her dead fiance. She doesn't have a car, and she still lives with her parents-- two hippies who came to Canada in the 1970s to evade the draft. (However, I think Molly's living arrangements will be changing soon after reading this book!) Her parents built a successful business and raised two children, but their once close relationship is changing. Molly's dad seems to have mellowed a bit over the years while Molly's mother, Lucky, is every bit the protesting firebrand she was as a teenager. One of the many things that will keep me reading this series is the relationship between Molly's parents. I've talked a lot about the characters in this book, and that's because they're so well drawn that I feel as if I know them all. But a mystery cannot be a good mystery unless it has a plot to match the setting and the characters, and Valley of the Lost does. With the reveal of a few early clues, I thought I had figured out the background of the dead girl. I was nowhere close-- and I like that. The plot line involving the resort and its owners had its own surprises, and I love how it ties in with other aspects of the plot. If you're a fan of memorable settings, fascinating characters, plots that keep you guessing, and you tell me that you've never read one of Vicki Delany's Molly Smith books, I have only one question for you... What are you waiting for? Track these books down and start reading them. You're in for a treat!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    Where the interesting bit of the mystery lies, is with Lucky Smith. Or rather, with Miller. Why is everyone interested in him? Why does the woman from child protective services insist of rehoming him when he's safe with the Smiths? The dead-ends on the police front show the time needed for their information about Miller and the murdered woman to get out to other agencies, other provinces, and ultimately other countries. One odd choice, I think, is an extended scene with Miller's actual family tha Where the interesting bit of the mystery lies, is with Lucky Smith. Or rather, with Miller. Why is everyone interested in him? Why does the woman from child protective services insist of rehoming him when he's safe with the Smiths? The dead-ends on the police front show the time needed for their information about Miller and the murdered woman to get out to other agencies, other provinces, and ultimately other countries. One odd choice, I think, is an extended scene with Miller's actual family that gives away a big part of the plot before the climax. http://pussreboots.com/blog/2020/comm...

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Kenny

    Molly Smith is a rookie cop in her old home town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. She has high ambitions, emotional baggage that stretches back to high school, and aging tree hugger parents who disapprove of Molly’s career choice. Molly’s mentor, John Winters, is a capable big city cop who has issues of his own. He’s retreated to the small town of Trafalgar to make a new start. He’s the gruff, but lovable sort of detective who cares more about his work than he probably should. Molly’s mother, Luck Molly Smith is a rookie cop in her old home town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. She has high ambitions, emotional baggage that stretches back to high school, and aging tree hugger parents who disapprove of Molly’s career choice. Molly’s mentor, John Winters, is a capable big city cop who has issues of his own. He’s retreated to the small town of Trafalgar to make a new start. He’s the gruff, but lovable sort of detective who cares more about his work than he probably should. Molly’s mother, Lucky, finds a dead woman and a live baby in the woods behind the Women’s Support Centre, where she works. Molly and Winters set about trying to track down the identity of the mysterious woman, known only as “Ashley”. Then they need to find out why she was murdered and by whom. Meanwhile Lucky takes charge of the squalling infant until his real family can be found. It’s yet another strain in the difficult relationship between mother and daughter. Valley of the Lost is beautifully written. The characters are rich and complex. The descriptions of the Kootenay region of British Columbia are so vivid you can practically smell the pine needles and feel the cool shade of the trees. Anyone who has ever spent time in a small community will appreciate Delany’s depiction of the complicated small town dynamics. Delany avoids sensational action, but holds the reader’s interest with the tense relationships between her characters and the detailed if sometimes plodding process of a realistic police investigation. The story gradually builds momentum and comes to a rollicking conclusion. My only criticisms are that the dialogue sometimes becomes a bit expository and there are a few more typos than I would expect in a commercially published work.

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