Sitting Lady Sutra

RCMP Constable Danutia Dranchuk is investigating a mysterious death at Sitting Lady Falls. The evidence she gathers points to three separate stories, leaving her with more questions than answers. Is this murder connected to two earlier killings of Aboriginal women? Are all three the work of the same killer? Some of the details are hitting a little too close to home, and Danutia is forced to examine her friendship with forensics head Corporal Surinder Sharma and his family.

Deftly woven into Danutia’s investigation are the stories of two other characters. Parolee Ritchie Taylor fears that the unidentified body from the waterfall is his estranged daughter’s, who was supposed to meet him after his release from prison, but never showed. Awkward busboy Trav can’t seem to help behaving suspiciously.

Author Kay Stewart pulls the threads together in an unexpected and dramatic resolution at Sitting Lady Falls.

EXCERPT

From the Prologue

Labor Day, 1996

Hearing a car engine’s low hum, Ritchie Taylor dropped his armload of firewood and moved closer to the chain-link fence. This was not a tourist destination. The driver would see the sign saying William Head Institution and turn around, as the last one had.

An old Volvo the color of faded denim nosed through the trees and pulled into the parking lot. He’d told her not to come here, to meet him in town tomorrow, when he would be a free man. Still he waited to see who would get out, his eyes burning. She was a grown woman now, or almost. He wondered what she looked like. Dark and thin, like him, or blonde and busty like her mother? He’d asked her to send photos, but she hadn’t. Let it be a surprise, she’d said. His daughter.

The car door opened and a stoop-shouldered old fart emerged, straw hat in hand. He settled the hat on his head and made his slow way towards the entrance. Shit. Ritchie turned away.

What was he thinking anyway, she wouldn’t be driving; she wouldn’t be old enough even—or would she? He hadn’t seen her since he went in, that botched convenience store job. How old was she then? Two? “Nineteen months,” he heard Kelly’s querulous voice say. “Your own daughter, you’d think you’d remember.” 

Truth was, he didn’t remember much from those days. Kelly’s voice, her long nose, her fingernails digging into his back when they made love. She’d come to see him at first, when he was in Ontario, though she wouldn’t bring the baby, said no child of hers was going to grow up knowing her dad was behind bars. After the riots he got transferred to BC, where the overcrowding wasn’t so bad, first Mountain, then William Head. That’s when they’d lost touch. It was easier, when you were doing time.

His time was almost up. Tomorrow he would be out of here, a free man. Or at least as free as you can be living in a halfway house, on parole. His mouth went dry. What if he couldn’t handle being out? Lots of guys couldn’t, people expecting stuff from you and you don’t know how to act, except the ways that got you into trouble in the first place. What did she expect from him, anyway? What did he know about being a parent? He should have told her to wait a month, till he got his shit together. Maybe he shouldn’t have answered her letter at all. But he had, and now who knew what would happen?

"Sitting Lady Sutra works both as a mystery and a synthesis of our beliefs and sorrows: honest and complex story-telling." ~ Don Graves, Hamilton Spectator

"[Stewart] keeps the action moving and the characters peppy." ~ The Globe & Mail   

"This is a complex novel with rich layers of plot and characters reflecting the Canadian multicultural stage." ~ Lou Allin, Crime Writers of Canada

Stewart knows how to write a compelling novel with dialogue that is sharp and believable, as are the characters. ~ Mystery Maven Canada

"Stewart loads the novel with issues and manages to keep everything on track, while maintaining suspense in the mystery and fascination with the character development." ~The Times Colonist