The ninth mystery in a series that “gets better with every book” (Globe and Mail)
Twelve-year-old Bonnie MacDonald — the beloved stepdancing, fiddling youngest member of Cape Breton’s famed Clan Donnie band — vanishes after a family party. There was no stranger spotted lurking around, but no one thinks for one minute that Bonnie ran away. Maura MacNeil, cousin to Clan Donnie, offers her husband’s legal services to the family as the police search for the missing girl. But fame attracts some strange characters and Clan Donnie has groupies. So, it turns out, does lawyer and bluesman Monty Collins.
Monty and Maura’s daughter, Normie, is much closer to the action as she gets to know her cousins, learns things she wishes she never had, and has nightmares — visions? — that bring her no closer to finding Bonnie. Her spooky great-grandmother makes no secret of the fact that she senses the presence of evil in their village — the kind of evil RCMP Sergeant Pierre Maguire left Montreal to escape. But he finds that vein of darkness running beneath the beauty and vibrant culture of Cape Breton. And he learns that this isn’t the only dark passage in the Clan Donnie family history.
Emery's ninth Collins-Burke mystery (following Ruined Abbey) takes place during a summer vacation to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Young Normie Collins and her family arrive two weeks after the disappearance of her step-dancing, fiddling 12-year-old cousin Bonnie. Narrated by Normie, her father, and the Mountie officer on the case, the book delves into the stories of Normie's relatives, the fame of her aunt and step-uncle's Celtic band, the hidden connections among families in town, and the fear gripping the extended family over the missing child. From her great-grandmother, Normie gets lessons in speaking Gaelic and tuning into her second sight, skills that will eventually become lifesavers. The investigation into Bonnie's whereabouts turns up little, and the family is shocked to the core when the missing girl's grandmother is accused of being involved. At that point, the real hidden skeletons in the family begin to emerge. The story is both an engaging mystery and an exploration of the unique and enduring culture built by Scottish settlers in Cape Breton. It contrasts the innocence of young Normie with some very adult situations that she handles with the strength and wisdom of her ancestors. This story is irresistible.