To Track a Traitor

Iona Whishaw | To Track a Traitor

Reviewed by: Melanie Hewson

Iona Whishaw

To Track a Traitor was released in April 2023 and went on to be the number one best-selling book for 2023 in BC’s indie bookstores. It has been on the national best seller lists of the CBC and the Globe and Mail. The book is the tenth in Whishaw’s well-loved Lane Winslow Mystery series, but you don’t need to have read the first nine to enjoy it. I do love a good mystery. The kind where engaging and intelligent people puzzle out seemingly unconnected information to solve a crime/mystery with the clock ticking. It’s even better when those characters are fleshed out into real people. A former intelligence officer who learns to bake cakes after settling into a small town in peacetime, for example.

Set in post-World War II Nelson BC, Whishaw adds the complexities of the period and its social expectations into the mix. The main character, Lane Winslow, faces the issues many women who went to war faced in the peace that followed. But not all the bad guys are men, or even altogether bad.  It’s a classic page turner with more depth than you usually get from a fast-paced mystery novel. The characters are very human and the setting of a close-knit BC community plays its own part in the unfolding.

The story covers three mysteries that arise out of three deaths, each with consequences for the town’s inhabitants that Wishaw gives us insights into. Over the course of the story, these three threads come together with surprising twists and turns. A beautiful blend of historical fiction and mystery novel, the book is masterfully researched and feels very realistic. Kudos to

Whishaw for really making us feel what it must have been like to live in Nelson during and after both the First and Second World Wars. Little details, such as the challenges of communication in an era when long distance calls were a carefully planned extravagance, help put you in the mindset of her characters.

If you are looking for a great story to fall into for several nights in front of the fire, I would highly recommend picking this one up. The only downside I found is that I now have nine more books on my reading list to get through before the Readers and Writers Festival when Iona Wishaw not only will discuss her writing, but also be offering a workshop!