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Haitian Graves

160 pages
RCMP sergeant Ray Robertson is serving with the United Nations in Haiti, a land of brilliant color and vibrant life, Vodou and vast above-ground cemeteries. Ray’s job is to train the local police and assist investigations. One call comes in from the home of a wealthy American businessman. The man came home to find his beautiful, young Haitian wife floating face down in the swimming pool. The American embassy and the Haitian police immediately arrest the gardener, and the case is closed. But Ray isn’t so sure, and he keeps digging. Until one night he finds himself in a Vodou-saturated cemetery, surrounded by above-ground tombs and elaborate statuary, confronting a killer with nothing left to lose.
This is the second in a series featuring RCMP sergeant Ray Robertson on his various postings overseas.
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Copyright ©Vicki Delany
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permissionin writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Delany, Vicki,–, author Haitian graves / Vicki Delany. (Rapid reads)
Issued in print and electronic formats.  ----(pbk.). ----(pdf ). ----(epub) I. Title. II. Series: Rapid reads .  '. -- --
First published in the United States, Library of Congress Control Number:
Summary:In this work of crime fiction,Sergeant Ray Robertson is working with the United Nations in Haiti when he’s called to investigate the death of a Haitian woman. ( .)
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover design by Jenn Playford Cover photography by Justin Ames
   www.orcabook.com       
For Karen, with many thanks for introducing me to Haiti.
o n e
aiti is all about color. Color and contrast. h Masses of red, peach and white flowers twisting around barbed wire. Brightly painted houses in the crowded slums spilling down the hillside. Cheerful ribbons wound through schoolgirls’ hair as they walk through piles of garbage. The painted minibus taxis called taptaps. Some of the taptaps looking as though paint and rust are all that’s holding them together. Right now I wasn’t admiring the colors of one particular taptap. I was hitting my horn and yelling at the driver to watch
Vicki Delany
where the heck he was going. Haiti is also all about the noise. I’ve driven in many thirdworld coun tries, but Haiti’s capital, PortauPrince, is built into a mountainside. That adds another dimension to the thrill of it all. A deep chuckle came from the passenger seat. “At last you are getting the hang of driving in Haiti,mon ami,” Agent Pierre Lamothe said. I leaned on the horn again and yelled some of the Creole words I’d learned. The driver of the taptap wisely granted me an inch. I eased the truck into the gap. The three cops crammed into the truck bed laughed. My name’s Ray Robertson. In Canada I’m with the. In Haiti I’m attached to the. I’m a mentor and advisor to the , the national police. A oneyear posting. How did a boy from the mountains of British Columbia get here? I like the
Haitian Graves
challenges ofpolicing. I like believing I can make a difference. Maybe even do some good. I was in South Sudan for a while. Then I heard they were look ing for French speakers to come to Haiti. My mom’s from Quebec, and we spoke French as much as English when I was a kid. I slammed on the brakes. I’d barely missed hitting a tall elegant woman in a crisply ironed white blouse and dark knee length skirt. I didn’t like driving this ancient, rusty pickup. Not with three cops sitting in the back on creaky wooden benches. No seat belts, no springs, a paperthin roof. A bad paint job that said we were the police. A light bar and sirens that sometimes worked. One of the men shouted something to the woman. She ducked her head and hurried away. I rapped on the back window and yelled at them to leave her alone. Harassing women on the street didn’t inspire trust in the police service.
Vicki Delany
The men laughed again. Whether at the idea of respecting a woman or at my bad Creole, I didn’t know. I never knew what they were thinking. Today I was in the PetionVille area. On patrol, teaching my men to keep a sharp eye out for potential crime. PetionVille is the nice part of PortauPrince. Large houses with maids and gardeners. Steel gates and armed guards. Swimming pools and lush gardens behind walls trimmed with barbed wire. But the roads are as pitted and choked with debris and garbage as anyplace else in Haiti. Here and there gaps appear in the walls, showing piles of crumbling rubble. Sometimes the rubble spills into the road. Maybe from houses that have never been finished. Maybe from buildings that fell during the earth quake. That quake killed some,people and flattened the center of the capital city.
Haitian Graves
On the way to the beach resorts on the north coast of the bay, a small cross is visible from the road. The cross marks the place where thousands of bodies were dumped. A desperate attempt to get rid of them before the heat of the tropics took its toll. A naked brown hill, unadorned by flowers, grass or trees. A hill full of the dead. The same area where the dictator Duvalier dumped truckloads of his enemies back in the day. Or so they say. We passed a rubblestrewn alley. I glanced down it, to make sure no cars were coming, and saw a man grab a girl’s arm and jerk her toward him. I was about to drive past when he lifted his hand and struck her, full in the face. She would have fallen had he not had a grip on her. I pulled the truck to a sudden halt. “What?” Pierre asked. “Let’s see what’s up.” I got out of the truck and headed into the alley. Pierre followed.