“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” said Winston Windflower. The Mountie looked over at his collie, Lady, who wagged her tail at the sound of his voice. If dogs could smile, she smiled back. His world was almost perfect. He had the love of a great woman and a good job as a Sergeant in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police patrolling one of the lowest crime regions in the country. Plus, the weather had been mild so far, at least for Newfoundland in early December, and that meant no snowstorms with forced overnighters at the detachment. Life was very good indeed.
He had good friends, including Lady, who was amongst the best of them. And he had a child on the way. His wife, Sheila Hillier, was pregnant and at the clinic for her three-month checkup. He was waiting to hear how both Sheila and the baby were doing. His Auntie Marie had told him the baby was a girl, and if anyone knew about these things, it was his Auntie. She was a dream weaver, an interpreter of not just dreams but of messages from the spirit world. Windflower had recently spent a week with her and his Uncle Frank, another dream weaver, to learn more about the dream world.
Interpreting dreams was part of his family’s tradition. But it was an imperfect tool that gave information, not always answers. Perhaps the most important thing he learned was that dreams do not predict the future. Instead, as his Auntie told him, “Dreams tell us about our past, what has already happened. They also point to actions we should take if we want to get the right result in the future and to the signs all around us that we need to follow.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Sheila came out into the kitchen when she heard Windflower. She gave him a big hug.
“That helps,” he said.
“I’ve got some supper in the oven, if you’re interested,” said Sheila.
“I don’t know if I’m even hungry. Let me have a shower. But I could certainly use a cold beer.”
“Go get cleaned up,” said Sheila. “I’ll make us some crackers and cheese.”
Windflower patted Lady again and went upstairs. He stripped off his clothes and stood for as along as he could in the hot steaming shower. He towelled off, put on his jogging suit and padded downstairs.
Sheila and Lady were sitting in the living room — the parlour, Sheila called it. That was part of the charm of this old and lovingly restored salt-box house in the middle of Grand Bank. It had been Sheila’s parents’ home and was now the residence of the local head of the RCMP and the mayor, about as close to the royal family as you could get in Grand Bank. That was a favourite joke of Corporal Eddie Tizzard, Windflower’s former colleague and go-to guy who was now working with Ron Quigley in Marystown.
Sheila had made a large plate of assorted cheese and crackers. There was some pepper Brie, Five Counties cheese and one of Windflower’s special choices, a Stilton with mango pieces. Plus, she had a cold bottle of Black Horse beer for him.
“This is perfect,” said Windflower as Lady, hoping to gather up any lost crumbs, carefully watched him place a large Stilton-topped cracker into his mouth. Windflower gave her a piece of the next cracker. While she was pleased with that morsel, she held out eternal hope for more. Finally, he shooed her away from the snacks on the side table, and she slumped into a mini-depression near the fireplace.
Sheila sipped on a glass of soda water and watched as Windflower neatly demolished the rest of the cheese and crackers.
“I didn’t think you were hungry,” said Sheila.
“Automatic response,” said Windflower. “I don’t think I ate anything after breakfast.”
“I’ll get you a plate from the oven,” she said as she headed back into the kitchen.
Sheila returned with a plate overflowing with steaming pasta and shrimp.
“Oh, my God,” said Windflower as he took a few small bites from his still-too-hot-to-eat dinner. “This is fabulous.”
“It’s not much, a shrimp and macaroni casserole. It’s easy to make and great for leftovers. That’s assuming you don’t eat it all tonight.”
You can read more about Sgt. Windflower and his adventures in A Tangled Web, the 6th book in the “Sgt. Windflower” mystery series.
Life is good for Sgt. Windflower in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. But something’s missing from the Mountie’s life. Actually, a lot of things go missing in Grand Bank: a little girl, supplies from the new factory, even some of his people. It’s Windflower’s job to unravel the tangled web that threatens to engulf this sleepy little town. But there’s always good food and good friends and the love of a great woman to make everything better at the end. Come back to Grand Bank and enjoy some of that for yourself.
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Meet the author
Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.
The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune and A Long Ways from Home.
A Tangled Web is the latest book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set on the East Coast of Canada. The previous book in the series, A Long Ways from Home, was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award as the “Best Light Mystery of the year.”
All comments are welcomed.