F Nelson Smith
A Star review by BlueInk Review
November 19, 2018
So thrilled to receive a star review by BlueInk Reviews. The total review is posted here, and by the end of November or early December, you will be able to see it for yourself on www.blueinkreview.com
No Straight Thing
F. Nelson Smith
Bear Hill Publishing, 277 pages, (hardcover) $30, 9781775074120
(Reviewed: November, 2018)
F. Nelson Smith’s rich historical thriller unfolds in Alberta, Canada, during the Great Depression.
Twelve-year-old Cat Perkins is desperate for news of her father who, after losing his job, left his
family to ride the rails in search of better prospects. Pete, a chivalrous hobo, devotes himself to
helping her in her quest.
Meanwhile, for extra money, Cat does chores for a housekeeper for accountant Fergus Muir
and his father. One day, Pete asks Cat to deliver a letter to Fergus—and is later found
It turns out that Pete and Fergus, a WWI veteran suffering from what is now called PTSD, were
best friends and battlefield comrades. After the war, Pete worked at a local ceramics factory but
was accused of financial improprieties and left town, allegedly with the factory manager’s wife.
Local law enforcement is eager to depict Pete’s death as the result of a fight between derelicts,
but Fergus believes there’s more involved and decides to investigate. As the story unfolds,
Fergus uncovers the truth—and secrets—behind Pete’s alleged malfeasance while fighting to
protect Cat, who may know too much for her own safety.
Smith provides a satisfying solution to the mystery, but the story truly excels in its sense of
atmosphere and character. Both Fergus and Cat are fully realized—fundamentally brave and
decent people with complicated pasts. Smith makes their inner struggles palpable, whether its
Fergus grappling with wartime memories or Cat dealing with the pain of her family being torn
apart by economic hardship. Minor characters display virtues and foibles that bring them alive.
Smith vividly depicts the Depression era, subtly giving readers a sense of the political backdrop
in Alberta. She is equally deft at illuminating the social consequences of economic
catastrophe— the way neighbors can both support and turn on one another when times get
With its vivid atmosphere and unforgettable characters, No Straight Thing is a treat for fans of
suspenseful historical fiction.
Also available in paperback and ebook.