Novel - The Walker on the Cape

The Walker on the Cape

The Walker on the Cape follows Winston Windflower as he investigates a mysterious death in the small community of Grand Bank, Newfoundland. Windflower is a Cree from Alberta who is an RCMP Sergeant and really a fish out of water in Grand Bank.

But he learns to like and even love the community and a special woman who lives there. Along the way he discovers that under the surface things are not what the seem in this sleepy little town.

Reviews

New Book Review by Mary Fan, author of Artificial Absolutes

http://zigzagtl.blogspot.ca/2013/01/review-walker-on-cape-mike-martin.html

Recommended for fans of murder mysteries and stories featuring local color.

GENRE

Mystery—Cozy Mystery/Whodunit
The Walker on the Cape follows the form of a classic whodunit. It opens with a dead body and follows Sergeant Winston Windflower as he investigates the murder. The story is set in a small fishing community on the East Coast and contains a lot of local color.

PACE

The Walker on the Cape is a moderately-paced murder mystery. The questions of “what happened” and “who’s the killer” keep the plot moving forward while Windflower’s interactions with the locals allow the reader to enjoy the setting.

PERSPECTIVE

The majority of this book is written from the third person perspective of Windflower and rotates to other characters’ points of view. At times, it takes on a more omniscient narrative distance.

CONTENT REVIEW

The Walker on the Cape opens as every good murder mystery should: with a dead body. The body is that of Elias Martin, an elderly man known for taking long strolls along the cape. Investigating the death is Sergeant Winston Windflower, who recently moved into town. When Windflower discovers that Elias was poisoned, he begins an investigation into the old man’s past to find the killer. Elias led a seemingly quiet life, but as Windflower learns more, he soon realizes that perhaps the old man’s life wasn’t so peaceful after all.
Windflower is an amiable and easily likable detective figure. He’s a classic good guy—determined, kind-hearted, and tough when he needs to be. Having been born and raised on a remote Indian reservation, he finds living in the small fishing community of Grand Bank to be quite a change from what he’s used to. His interactions with the locals, including a winsome café owner, bring the setting to life. In fact, it is this local color that makes The Walker on the Cape memorable.
Martin writes with a charming lilt reminiscent of classic cozy mysteries. The characters are a quirky bunch, such as the over-enthusiastic young policeman, Constable Eddie Tizzard, and the blustering Inspector MacIntosh. Between the investigation scenes, Windflower discovers his affections for the aforementioned café owner, a delightful woman name Sheila who introduces Windflower to the local comforts.
For a taste of Martin’s writing style, here’s the opening paragraph of the first chapter: “Even in an ordinary life the most extraordinary things can happen. Every morning for the past eleven years Elias Martin has had his breakfast of hot porridge and thick molasses bread smothered in partridgeberry jam. Then, rain or shine, he began his solitary walk from his small blue house on Elizabeth Avenue in Grand Bank, Newfoundland, down through the Cove, and until the winter snow made it impassable, up over the hills to the Cape.”
Such descriptions and charm are carried out throughout the novel, which retains a cheery atmosphere despite the bleakness of Windflower’s job. Like all cozy mysteries, the detective figure in The Walker on the Cape is removed from the danger and spends the majority of the investigation interviewing suspects and witnesses or stewing in his own thoughts. Things take an interesting turn about halfway through the book when corruption is unveiled and an arrest is made.
In terms of the plot, Martin has constructed a well laid-out web of suspects and motives, and he certainly seems to know his way around a police procedural. From the forensic reports to the ins and outs of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he depicts a believable world of crime scenes and investigators.
All in all, I found The Walker in the Cape to be a fun and lighthearted read. It’s the kind of mystery that lets one delve into the various possible scenarios, revealing various backgrounds and stories along the way. The reader gets to explore the little town of Grand Bank along with Windflower, experiencing all its delights and hospitality.

THE NITPICKY STUFF

I found a number of small errors such as typos. Also, and this is really nitpicky, Martin tends to write in long sentences, often unbroken by commas.
This book is fairly G-rated in terms of sex, violence, language, etc.

AUTHOR INFO

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland and now lives in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and a member of Ottawa Independent Writers, Capital Crime Writers, the Crime Writers of Canada, and the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild. The Walker on the Cape is his first full fiction book.

From the Online Book Club

Review of The Walker on the Cape by:

M. Corley

OnlineBookClub

The Walker on the Cape overall was a good book. It is a murder mystery about a man who walks on the cape every day and suddenly dies. It is up to the local sergeant in the small town to take over the investigation and find out who killed this man. Of course, he runs into some problems and there is a plot twist towards the end of the book.

Mike Martin is the author of The Walker on the Cape and he does a marvelous job of writing this fiction novel.

Sergeant Winston Windflower is put in charge of Elias Martin’s death. Elias Martin walked up and down the cape every day until one day he does not come back. He is found dead along the trail later that day. Sergeant Windflower takes over the investigation with his side-kick constable, Eddie Tizzard. Together, and with the help of the local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) they find out who the murderer is, along with some other interesting things. There is of course a lighter side of the novel… Sergeant Windflower’s love life with local coffee shop owner, Sheila.

I thought this novel was well written, and overall a good book. Typically I do not like murder mystery books, but this one kept me interested and involved. The writing sometimes was very “cheesy” or “corny” at some parts of the book. Other than that, I thought that the book was good. I gave it a 3 out 4 stars because I did not think it was an excellent book, but I did like it. I would recommend to other people as well.

Mike Martin did a wonderful job putting together and writing this novel and he developed the characters very well. The Walker on the Cape was a good book that many people would enjoy.

http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=223&t=12235


 

Toronto Star

http://www.thestar.com/news/books/article/1224529–criminal-xo-the-walker-on-the-cape-oranges-and-lemons-mini-reviews

Mini-Review of  The Walker on the Cape

Baico Publishing, 252 pages, $20

By Batten, Jack Whodunit Columnist July 28, 2012

The murder takes place in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. The victim is a retired fisherman. The sleuth is RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower, a Cree from an Alberta reserve. And everybody loves a Jiggs dinner of salted meat, cabbage and pease pudding. Can a crime novel get more Canadian?

The murder steers Windflower into deeper Newfoundland mysteries and into some foxily constructed plotting. Mike Martin, a first-time Ottawa author, won’t be mistaken for a literary stylist, but his book offers a winning sleuth figure and an air of charming cheerfulness.


From the St. John’s, NL Telegram

Elias Martin seemed like a regular old gentlemen to his fellow citizens of Grand Bank, if somewhat cantankerous and reclusive since the death of

his wife. His simple daily rituals were familiar to all, especially his

morning walk along the cape.

So, when he¹s seen setting out one morning, but not coming back, it is

obvious something is wrong. Sure enough, his body is soon found by some

hikers.

The investigation into Martin¹s death is assigned to RCMP Sgt. Winston

Windflower. Windflower grew up on a Northern Albertan reserve and has been stationed in Grand Bank for less than a year. His assisting officer,

Const. Eddie Tizzard, is from Grand Bank, and able to fill out gaps in

local knowledge. At the same time, Windflower¹s outsider perspective can

discern valuable information.

Because things soon get complicated. Martin did not die of natural

causes. And neither had he lived a blameless life. His past includes a

devastating car accident, and a possible affair.

Soon Windflower has his suspects, including the bad-tempered but

influential Harvey Brenton, a drunken Roger Buffet, and whoever the woman who lost her scarf near Martin¹s body might prove to be.

All the same, pursuing the case doesn¹t keep Windflower so busy that he

neglects his personal life. His affection for Sheila, owner of the local

Mug Up café, is an open secret. But Windflower¹s career has already cost

him the affections of one good woman.

It¹s fun to read a mystery like this. The setting is nicely realized, the

characters have some weight, and the details are telling, like the fog

with a mind of its own, the cuisine in St-Pierre, and the Tim Hortens

bagels.

Joan Sullivan

The Telegram


From The Clarenville Packet

The Walker on the Cape

Silly me, when I first heard of The Walker on the Cape [Baico Publishing Inc.] I assumed it was a spooky story of sorts, you know, with some mysterious creepy guy, or ghost, or something, wandering around in the fog and scaring the bejabbers out of folks on the cape.

Of course, that isn’t the case. Mike Martin’s novel [www.walkeronthecape.com] is a straight forward murder story. Elias Martin who habitually takes his morning constitutional on the Cape hiking trail is found dead. First off, peopled figure Elias has been felled by a heart attack.

But you know better, eh b’ys?

Walker is a murder story so, at best [!], a heart attack would have to be induced by something nasty. As it turns out, the nasty is…well, I’m not saying.

Back to page one, Chapter One.

Writers try like Dickens to open their stories with a hook, some tasty bait to catch and hold the reader’s attention.

Martin hooked me in the first paragraph with a description of Elias’ breakfast of, along with porridge, “thick molasses bread smothered in partridge berry jam.”

I knew I wouldn’t be able to fault a book that commenced with patch-a-berry jam bread; although rather than molasses I’d prefer inch-thick gobs of butter.

And another thing…

Readers bring their past lives to whatever they read, which explains—I s’pose—why there is no accounting for the memories a story stirs up even when it has no idea it’s doing so.

Knowing I’d be scribbling about this book in the morning, last night before nodding off I reflected on its contents and eventually fell asleep to dream prodigious dreams about Mounties.

Why Mounties?

The main character in Walker is Sergeant Winston Windflower, a Mountie from Pink Lake Alberta now stationed in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

That’s not the Mountie I dreamed about though. I dreamed about a different Alberta—I think—Mountie whose misfortune it was to track down and kill his own brother, way up in the Canadian Rockies, near a place called Arroyo.

When I was a wee bay-boy my Pappy used to sing a song called “The Young Mountie’s Prayer,” a popular radio tune at the time sung by—maybe—Wilf Carter or, more likely, Yodeling Slim Clark.

You remember Yodelling Slim, eh?

This morning, haunted—kinda—by lines from the song, I went YouTubing and, sure enough, found a feller strumming his guitar and crooning just like Wilf, or Yodeling Slim, whoever.

Mike, bet a loonie you didn’t foresee your book cranking up my noggin and blowing the carbon off long-idle synapses containing embedded scraps of ancient cowboy ballads.

Back to the book.

Sergeant Windflower learns that old Elias didn’t die of a heart attack. He died because…well, I’m not saying.

Elias’ death is deemed a homicide; therefore, Windflower is required to open an investigation, always the first step in solving a crime.

Windflower knows what truly killed Elias but he is unfamiliar with the nature of the…well, of the weapon. Feeling it’s necessary that he know all that he can about the deadly characteristics of the…weapon…, Windflower decides to delve into some detailed research. The first place he checks—bless his young Mountie heart—is Wikipedia!

Hey, Walker is a “modern” murder yarn.

The circumstances leading up to Elias’ murder are as shrouded in mystery [!] as Grand Bank is shrouded in fog, but Windflower perseveres in his investigation and eventually—as when fog dissipates—all is revealed.

And—Ohhh!—the stuff that’s revealed about the goings-on in Grand Bank. There’s illicit this-and-that all over the place. Enough to keep kitchen peepers almost permanently peeking through their cotton curtains.

Windflower is not alone in his investigation of Elias’ murder. He is assisted by Constable Eddie Tizzard, a young Mountie whose prayers [!] of being involved in and solving a heinous crime are answered by his role as Windflower’s right-hand man. Young Tizzard is painfully eager—kinda like Odie the dog of comic strip fame.

Mind how your Literature teachers used to insist that stories should send a message, should be—p’raps—cautionary tales with sage advice to heed and morals to absorb?

Well, Walker is a cautionary tale—sorta.

Throughout the story it’s occasionally necessary for Windflower to drive the highway between Grand Bank and Marystown. En route he is ever conscious of the possibility of encountering humongous wildlife on the highway, so…

…so, the message of this book is—Mind the moose!

Harold N. Walters


 

From The Mystery Site

http://www.themysterysite.com/showreview.php?r_id=615.

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.

Denis Bernicky


From Mystery Maven.com

http://mysterymavencdn.blogspot.ca/2012/09/mystery-review_8.html

Look at the cover of The Walker on the Cape. An exquisite site, isn’t it? That’s Grand Bank, Newfoundland, the setting of this tale of RCMP, power and corruption. But it’s mostly the story of life on the rock. Because it’s the setting, the people, and the way of life in a small Newfoundland community that makes a difference in this first mystery by Ottawa writer Mike Martin. He writes about what he knows and that’s his home province.

The discovery of the body of an old man on the trail overlooking Grand Bank shakes the community when it’s found he was poisoned. Therein lies the tale of old secrets, power that corrupts, and lies that lead to ruined lives. At the heart of it all is RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower, a First Nation officer who finds himself posted in far away Newfoundland. He’s a really nice guy who’s facing what sounds like his first major investigative challenge, which he handles with intelligence and understanding.

Along the way we meet Sheila Hillier who owns a local cafe, the officers and civilian staff at the small detachment, and many of the locals who form the fabric of the community. Sheila’s a nice woman and seems a natural pairing for the bachelor sergeant, and this provides a peak into his private life. It’s to be hoped that any future instalments give us a deeper understanding of what it means to be an aboriginal in the RCMP. We get a glimpse with his morning ritual of smudge bowl and medicine bag but knowing more about his past and his beliefs would help give depth to the man.

Martin has thought through his plot and provided a mixture of motives and suspects to keep it moving forward. And, he’s done his homework when it comes to RCMP procedure. He has a lot of room to grow his characters which should make the second book (I’m assuming and hoping it’s a series) well worth looking for.

Enjoy an armchair visit to Newfoundland!


From Downhome Magazine

The Walker on the Cape is a quiet mystery that uses the atmosphere of a small town and the people who inhabit it to god effect as Windflower and his eager assistant Constable Eddie Tizzard dig deeper and deeper into the lives of individuals who may or may not be responsible. It’s easy to visualize the story as a TV movie along the lines of many of the excellent British series.”


From Robert U Doyle author of The Tangerine Murders

As someone of Irish descent, I often wondered why my ancestors never made it to Newfoundland instead of stopping in the neighbouring province of Nova Scotia. After all, Nova Scotia too has its charms but its name means ‘New Scotland.’ Having mixed with Newfoundlanders on many occasions through work as a senior public servant for New Brunswick and visited Newfoundland several times I am even familiar with the area that fellow first-time author Mike Martin uses as a backdrop for his crime fiction book, ‘The Walker on the Cape.’ Communities such as Fortune, Marystown and Grand Bank are at the ‘foot’ part of the ‘boot’ of the Burin Peninsula on ‘The Rock, the affectionate name for Newfoundland. These are places that can be misty and look mysterious enough to be part of the province’s current excellent tourism ads for Newfoundland and Labrador that have excited the imaginations of many outsiders.

Having said this, Mike Martin has done an admirable job at bringing these communities to life in his first published book of crime fiction. In my own experience, The Rock is a place where word-smiths (not all of them seasoned politicians) and people who love puns and a good story live and thrive. Mike Martin, a native of The Rock and someone who makes an annual pilgrimage there, follows in their footsteps through his writing. His highly-entertaining and admirable first book is a pleasant addition to crime fiction and to writing using the Atlantic Provinces as a locale.

His book is companionable in the sense that it captures the uniqueness, mystery and down-home spirit of Newfoundlanders and their lives that infuse many small-town communities on The Rock. It’s also a good read, introducing his protagonist-outsider RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower, of First-Nations background into his chosen locale. How quickly the Sergeant is adopted and accepted in the communities is something that seems to defy logic as such closed communities are not prone to offer such acceptance – in part because of traditions and perceived and inflated differences – for generations (if ever). However, Martin deftly portrays Windflower’s ability to win over many of the people in the community through his own personality, his professional talent as an investigator and his budding romance with a local woman. That relationship seems suspended in mid-air as the book ends – calling for a sequel one imagines.

Of course, anticipating a second book means that another person in one of these small communities will need to be killed and surely tongues will be wagging over someone or another who has the capacity to be a killer. That sounds intriguing.  It also reminds me of any episode of the TV series, ‘Midsomer Murders’ where this sleepy little area in England has so many secrets inside that the cops are as apt to discover three corpses as they’d be to find one.


From Anthony Lund ……Allbooks  Reviews                 

Police procedural novels come from two stables; plodding or pacey. Mike Martin’s debut fiction novel The Walker on The Cape falls mostly into the latter category.

The Walker on The Cape introduces yet another policeman into the world in the form of Winston Windflower, a sergeant of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, along with his sidekick Constable Eddie Tizzard, and we have to ask do we really need one?

While not breaking any moulds, Windflower is a decent enough addition to the ever growing list of policemen out there in the world of crime fiction. His character develops quickly enough to grab the reader’s attention, giving a little insight into the man behind the officer and Martin doesn’t fall into the trap of many others in bogging readers down with a host of slow-moving introductions. All in all, after the first few dozen pages, the story already had me hooked and I was not feeling an urge to just skim read a few pages to get beyond weighty descriptions.

Possibly the one gripe with the characters – who are well-crafted and, while not entirely unique, are ordinary people, which is what ordinary readers can connect with in this genre – is the choice of names. The mouthful of Winston Windflower, combined with something far too close to Eddie Izzard is something that will either help ingrain the characters on minds, or simply make people laugh at the wrong moment.

The Newfoundland setting of the novel is described just enough to, along with the glum coastline image of the book’s cover, create a sense of setting, and the small community with its secrets is one similar to those that work to such great effect in the work of Stephen King in the likes of Needful Things and Storm of The Century.

As with any crime novel that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or spectacular set-pieces, the story is key to the success of the book, and it doesn’t disappoint. Again, police procedurals fall into two types; one giving an entire law seminar and boring readers to tears, the other supplying just the right amount of detail to keep story-lovers entertained and nit-pickers from accusing the author of blagging their way through. Again, Martin manages to keep to the latter of these throughout, and doesn’t stray from his focus on the evolving storyline.

The Walker on the Cape is a promising debut for Windflower and co, and with a constantly moving plot, some clever twists and a pleasant writing style it will not be the last we see of them either. For anyone who enjoys the R D Wingfield’s Frost novels will find plenty to get their teeth into here.


 

From Ottawa Author and Blogger John Baglow

Crime writer Mike Martin imports a Cree RCMP officer into Grand Bank, a Newfoundland outport: how could the ensuing story not hold our interest?

Sergeant Winston Wildflower is called to investigate the death of an old man, Elias Martin, found dead on the path from the village to the Cape, where he liked to go for daily walks. Wildflower has a hunch that it wasn’t a heart attack, and the story flows from there.

The characters tend to be sketched, not drawn, but they aren’t caricatures. There is McIntosh, his hostile superior; the eager Constable Tizzard; his flame Sheila, who serves him cheesecake with coffee or tea at the Mug-Up diner; the wealthy and unaccountably furious Harvey Brenton and his abused wife; Dr. Vijay Sanjay, doing his best to pick up the Newfoundland language; the officious mayor of Grand Bank—and a host of others.

The story is deftly plotted, and bounces along in fifty short punchy chapters plus an epilogue. Martin, from Newfoundland himself, gives us a good feel of the place where the drama plays out. The writing is not particularly stylish, and Martin could have used a copy-editor to weed out the typos and the occasional solecism, but the atmosphere and the pace keep the tale lively and engaging.

What is striking about the text, however, is that it almost seems to be the wrong medium for the story Martin has to tell. The main characters and the dialogue suggest a more serious version of Corner Gas, one in which murders and assaults are committed and serious police business is to be attended to, but, at the same time, where lesser intrigues and daily interactions have their own considerable comic potential.

Thanks to Martin, one has the sense that several of his characters have more stories to tell, and the setting—a Newfoundland outport in the present day—offers countless possibilities in itself. Whether Martin chooses to press on with more novels, as he hints in this one, or turn his hand to the discipline of drama (he has a good ear for dialogue), he has opened the door to some interesting folks, and they seem bent on staying a while.

John Baglow


 

From John James Ford….. Author of Bonk on the Head

I started reading _The Walker on the Cape_ during a weekend at the cottage this past summer, and I finished it before I found the time to jump in the lake. This slim-ish volume packs a lot in-between its covers, and for a first novel I was impressed by the transitions and the subtle hooks Mr. Martin leaves his readers along the way. Ultimately, and enjoyable and quick read with a sympathetic protagonist in Winston Windflower. I really enjoyed this murder mystery and look forward to what Mike Martin offers up in the future.


 

From Ruth Latta….Author of The Old Love and the New Love

Who would have believed that the picturesque village of Grand Bank, NL, could harbour a murderer? RCMP Sergeant Winston Windflower’ could, because it’s his job to investigate suspicious deaths like that of Elias Martin.

The Alberta native has learned that the small Newfoundland community “guards its secrets and its own very closely.” Windflower’s conscientious investigation of the old man’s death uncovers not only a large scale illegal enterprise but also a domestic tragedy.

A strong, well-paced plot, characters with distinctive personalities, and the unique Newfoundland setting combine to make The Walker on the Cape a good Canadian read.

Ruth Latta

author of The Old Love and the New Love

http://ruthlattabooks.blogspot.com


 

From Michael P. MacDonald…. Author of Poolroom and Politics

Mike Martin has produced a very compelling police procedural set in Grand Bank on the coast of Newfoundland. From main character Winston Windflower on down, he has created a group of people that you want to get to know better; hopefully in future stories and other circumstances.

The Walker on the Cape contains a well executed plot and an ending you are not expecting; vital elements in this genre of fiction. The visual of the lighthouse on the front cover does a lot to establish the setting and Martin’s description of the locale makes it integral to the feel of the story.

I look forward to the next adventure of Windflower and company.

Michael MacDonald

Aylmer, Quebec

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