It is August 1927. Sergeant Frank Fallon is back on the beat at the Newfoundland Constabulary office in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland when reports of a ghastly discovery of two bodies at the foot of Lovers Leap is reported. Upon investigation Sergeant Fallon discovers that one of the men is the school teacher from the neighbouring community of Bristol’s Hope, Mr. Nicholas Peddle, found clutching a woman’s shawl with a superficial stab wound to the neck. The other severely injured deceased victim, an unknown gentleman with an interesting but crudely executed tattoo, is lying face up a short distance away.
Fallon and estranged partner Christine Sullivan spring to action and quickly discover that Master Nicholas Peddle is not the well-respected school teacher characteristic of the time. Over the course of the next four days, some deep secrets regarding the school master’s conduct are uncovered and the list of suspects continues to grow until eventually the trail grows cold. Fast forward fifty years, 88-year-old Fallon receives an unexpected phone call from the RCMP with news of a discovery that just might break this case wide open. Will an artifact recovered from the path near Lovers Leap bring closure to this unsolved mystery? What really happened on that August night?
Murder At Lover’s Leap is the twelfth publication for retired educator and author Patrick J. Collins. Inspired by a pair of true “but equally unnerving events”, Collins’ inspiration for this second narrative is based on the attempted double murder of two young lovers who, back in 1864, found themselves at the base of Lover’s Leap. This unsolved crime coupled with the discovery in 2021 of a lead casing containing a badly deteriorated note suggesting that a murder was about to occur was the impetus for this latest narrative. Collins does an excellent job of crafting a tightly woven crime story utilizing these two events and seamlessly incorporates other factually accurate tidbits of information. Being a lover of Newfoundland history, I particularly enjoyed how the author was able to weave the construction of the Harbour Grace Airfield into the story while at the same time utilizing this local lore to aid in the construction of characters that are central to the story.
As in Collins’ previous crime thriller, Body On The Beach, this most current work also features the detective-sleuthing of the romantically inclined duo of Detective Frank Fallon and investigative reporter Christine Sullivan. Collins crafts a crime thrilling story using authentic characters that are real and relatable while putting forth a narrative that will keep readers turning the pages to the very end.
In this follow up novel, the author effectively uses a flashback technique to pique the interest of it’s readers. At the beginning of the story, the author presents a very senior sergeant tormented by an unsolved double murder that had taken place 50 years previously, intrigued by the discovery of evidence that could lead to solving the crime. Readers are then taken back to a very different time and place as Frank Fallon relives the investigation and tells the story.
At the beginning of the novel readers will get a sense that Fallon’s continued struggle with “the bottle” is the result of some past triggering event, which will become clear at the end and readers will certainly be sympathetic with Christine’s reluctance to continue the relationship with Frank under such conditions. As clues and suspects pile up, their commitment to each other is tested. Readers will come to enjoy the flirtatious antics of the Irish barmaid Fiona who tries to serve more than just brew to the broken-hearted Sergeant and it will pique interest when the cocky son of Judge Donnelly makes a play for Christine. Readers will be happy to know that all will truly be revealed in the end when we sit with an elderly Mr. and Mrs. Fallon awaiting the outcome of the recent discovery.
Murder At Lover’s Leap by Patrick J. Collins is a well written crime thriller with expertly researched historical touches. The subplots that run parallel to the mystery provide an extra layer of interest that pulls the reader in, resulting in an entertaining and enjoyable read. I highly recommend reading Collins’ first crime thriller, Body On The Beach, for ultimate enjoyment however Murder At Lover’s Leap is a great stand-alone mystery that really doesn’t require the reader to have any background information.
About the Author
Patrick J. Collins is a writer and retired educator who has taught in various communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. He finished his career in education as a curriculum program specialist, working in several school districts on the Avalon Peninsula and in Western Labrador. Born and raised in Riverhead, Harbour Grace, Patrick J. Collins continues to enjoy researching and writing in his retirement.
- Publisher : Flanker Press Ltd. (Aug. 19 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 278 pages
- ISBN-10 : 177457103X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1774571033