First the bad - the first two chapters are a bit of a slog. The first sentence of Chapter Two almost saw the book sail across the room into the circular file. In the end though it was wise not to file the book and continue on with it. Mike Martin's The Walker on the Cape is set in Grand Bank, Newfoundland and Martin is adept at giving the reader a feel for what small town life in Newfoundland might be like.
The story starts with a death, of course, in this case the death of Elias Martin an old widower with a reputation as a curmudgeon and a loner. The Walker on the Cape is a police procedural headed by Sergeant Winston Windflower a relocated Albertan serving in the RCMP detachment on the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland. Windflower's right hand man is a constable with the unlikely name of Eddie Tizzard (one cannot help but wonder if Mike Martin is a fan of British comedy in general or just Izzard in particular or perhaps completely unaware of the name similarity between his fictional creation and the British comedian).
The Walker on the Cape is smart but not overly so and it isn't a whodunnit per se. This isn't a case of a writer trying to flood the reader with so much information that they cannot figure things out but there is just enough information to draw an erroneous conclusion if you fancy yourself a sleuth. Everything the reader needs to understand and figure out the crime is discovered by the reader at the exact same time as Sergeant Windflower.
Food has a minor but interesting supporting role in The Walker on the Cape in much the same way as architecture plays a role in every P.D. James novel. It isn't a character and doesn't influence the plot but the Windflower's appreciation of food and the Newfoundland culture of food and breaking bread with one's neighbour add flavour to the novel. Sergeant Windflower is a single man so naturally there is a minor subplot involving his interest in a local lady. We also get a sense of Windflower's own attachment to his spiritual roots.
The long and the short of it is that The Walker on the Cape is worth picking up. It is a good read once you make it past page four which is not a lot to ask of any reader. It is an easy and short read as well. Sergeant Windflower and Constable Eddie Tizzard are well drawn characters and it will be interesting to see how they and other characters develop in the next book.
Other Mike Martin Reviews
The Body on the T: Very good second mystery in series. A great, light read.