Arctic Adagio by DJ Cockburn

Arctic Adagio by DJ Cockburn
Publisher: Annorlunda Books
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (40 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

How do you catch a murderer when your suspects own the law? Superintendent Rex Harme’s job is to protect the super-rich from pirates and anarchists. It’s not his job to investigate them. If they cared to be investigated, they wouldn’t be living on a luxury cruise ship that accepts no national jurisdiction. But when one of the super-rich is thrown into the Arctic Ocean, Harme will need to remember the detective he used to be because someone is going to pay for that murder – but whether or not the right person pays depends on whether Harme can beat the clock he isn’t supposed to know is ticking.

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This was such an engrossing mystery. Extremely wealthy people are often protected from the negative consequences of their actions, so it was fascinating to see what happened after one of these folks crossed so many lines that even his wealth and high status couldn’t save him. The more I learned about the victim, the stronger my curiosity grew about who killed him and how they were able to get around all of the safeguards that were supposed to be surrounding him. I couldn’t get enough of this part of the storyline.

While I was quite interested in the plot itself, I found it tricky at times to keep track of all of the characters in this short story. Not everyone was clearly identified in the beginning, and there were so many different people in general that I even struggled to remember who they were when the narrator had given a brief overview of their role in the story.

The science fiction themes were subtle. At first, I wondered if this tale had been misclassified, but I soon figured out that I’d been wrong about that. This definitely did have science fiction elements, and they brought a nice sense of depth to the setting once I figured out where to look for them. I enjoyed the author’s gentle touch here. It was a nice mixture of two genres that I don’t see woven together as often as I’d like to.

Arctic Adagio should be read by anyone who has wondered what sailing might be like a generation or two from now.

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