Auntie M had been intrigued to read about Farrow’s creation, Emile Cinq-Mars, compared to Louise Penny’s Inspt. Gamache and to Christie’s Hercule Poirot, for the lyrical passages written inside Emile’s mind, and for the use of his little grey cells in solving crime.

So she was excited to crack open the first page of The Storm Murders and plunge in and she was not disappointed, from the chilling opening, through the suspenseful twists and turns to a most surprising ending.

It’s brilliantly cold in the countryside outside Montreal after a blizzard, where the former Sergeant-Detective is badly adjusting to his new life of retirement and trying to help his wife, Sandra, with her horse business. He has a painful back and is just recovering from fractured ribs broken during a fall off a ladder with subsequent pneumonia and wondering where his future lies.

Then his longtime partner, Bill Mathers, who has inherited Emile’s job, calls to ask if he can visit.But this is not any visit.

Mathers wants to bring an FBI agent along, and to have Emile consult on a series of crimes that have escalated to encompass a married couple found dead in their home not far from where Emile lives. Despite the tension in his marriage, Emile agrees.

Two police called to the scene have been found dead at the scene of the murders. And here’s the thing that has everyone on high alert: there were no other tire tracks or footprints in the freshly fallen snow than those of the two officers found dead inside the house.

Emile will bring Sandra with him to New Orleans to follow a lead, half-vacation, half-investigation, when the unthinkable happens: after being mugged in their room, Sandra is kidnaped. And that’s just the tip of Emile’s iceberg in this twisted and compelling plot.

There are interesting side characters readers meet along the way, including New Orleans detective Pascal Dupree, one of Auntie M’s favorites. Each character is drawn distinctly and imagined well. That adds to the tension that alternates between passages of Emile’s thoughts with action-packed scenes that will have readers flipping pages to find the resolution.

Farrow writes this crime series under a pen name. He is literary novelist and playwright Trevor Ferguson, and his background and expertise, as well as his love of language, shows on every page. This is the kind of brilliant writing that creeps up on you and leaves you pondering the book and its characters long after the last page. Highly recommended.