FeaturedHistorical Mysteries

A Cold Wind Down the Grey

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Loved it! 😍

A competent and thoughtful retelling of one man's role in New Zealand history.

Historians should find much to appreciate in Wendy Wilson's well-researched narrative of the events surrounding New Zealand's first mass murder.


The story, told from the perspective of Inspector William Henry James, gives readers a background into what life was like in the still-new colony of New Zealand after the New Zealand Wars. The text jumps between 1888, when James is recalling the events of the murder and his subsequent investigation, and 1866, when he is experiencing them.


Readers expecting a suspenseful tale or a mysterious whodunnit may be disappointed by a story that is more reflective than active; readers interested in historical details and an attempt to illustrate what life was like for a police inspector trying to do his job to the best of his ability — a man who, like many of us, is proud of some of his choices and regrets others — may enjoy this novel.


The writing is both competent and detailed; the scenes where James interacts with his wife and his family are beautifully crafted.

Reviewed by

Writer, editor, and teacher. I review one book a week at NicoleDieker.com as part of my daily posts on the art and the finances of a creative career. Am interested in books on writing and publishing, literary fiction, and SF&F.

Wanganui: A Testimonial for Inspector James

About the author

A retired English Professor, Wendy M. Wilson writes historical mysteries set in 19th century New Zealand. Born in New Zealand, she never completely returned from her OE (overseas experience), and now lives in Canada. Since retirement she has twice been short listed in the U of T Fiction contest. view profile

Published on February 04, 2019

80000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Mysteries

Reviewed by