Winner of the 2001 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
When environmental warrior Ira Connaught turns up hanging by the neck from an ancient rainforest cedar overlooking the wasteland of a clear-cut on Clayoquot Sound, everyone seems content to declare his death a suicide. The tree spiker won't be missed by loggers, Tofino's RCMP detachment, or by many environmentalists who applauded his goals but condemned his tactics.
For reluctant community coroner Elias McCann, Ira's death looks increasingly like a murder. Elias is no forensic pathologist, no doctor. A quirk in BC law enables anyone of good community standing to be appointed local coroner. But RCMP Sergeant Gary Danchuk does not believe that Elias meets even the quirk in the law. Danchuk remains convinced - against all evidence - that McCann murdered his wife, Merriam, two years earlier in order to clear the way for his love affair with Vhanna Chan.
Hands Like Clouds is the first in a series of mysteries revolving around the troubled life of Elias McCann, son of a remittance man and local coroner.
Mark Zuehlke lives and writes on Vancouver Island. His previous books include Ortona: Canada's Epic World War II Battle (Stoddart, 1999), The Yukon Fact Book (1998), The Alberta Fact Book (1997), The BC Fact Book (1995), The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (1996), and Scoundrels, the Dreamers and Second Sons: British Remittance Men in the Canadian West (1994).
A masterful mix of suspense, tension, action, character development, scenic setting and hard-hitting, thought-provoking social issues. - M. Wayne Cunningham, Kamloops Daily News, Saturday July 24, 2004
In addition to reader interest in the troubled detective figure, the novel has the added asset of being quintessentially Canadian. References to our countrys history and current issues abound...The cast of characters reflects the Canadian mosaic.
this nifty novel touces several of our national hang-ups and pressure points.
[Zeuhlkes] protagonist in Hands like Clouds is one of the most original Ive ever encountered in crime fiction... [This is] one of the better mysteries to come out of British Columbia, or Canada, in many years.
the novel combines mystery, murder, romance, politics and social issues in a lively manner.
A masterful mix of suspense, tension, action, character development, scenic setting and hard-hitting, thought-provoking social issues.
Overall the novel combines mystery, murder, romance, politics (both local and international), and social issues in a lively manner. The style is snappy and the setting is hard to beat...I look forward to the next instalment in what may become a series of adventures for Elias McCann and the inhabitants of Tofino.
There is lots of action as well as lots of descriptive prose in this book.
a great read for a rainy Canadian day.
Mark Zeuhlke has a promising future as a mystery writer, if his first novel Hands like Clouds is anything by which to judge.
A very Canadian mystery with a uniquely Canadian protagonist.
Zuehlke's novel is a good read.