||A Review of: Tunnels of Treachery: A Third Moose Jaw Mystery
by M. Wayne Cunningham
In this third tumble into Moose Jaw's 1920's tunnels, 15-year-old
Andrea Talbot and her 10-year-old diabetic, insulin popping brother,
Tony, accidentally bring along their Chinese friends, 14-year-old
twins, Eddie and Kami Mark.
>From the foursome's first landing everything goes crazy, and the
action-oriented tension begins to build. The Marks get separated
from the Talbots and from each other. As the confused twins wander
the tunnels they're individually caught by Mean Eyed Max, Stilts
and Chubbs, gangsters and racists the Talbots clashed with in their
two previous time trips. The caputred twins are called "Coolies";
while being held, they learn about Head taxes, discrimination and
subsistence wages, and discover how Chinese immigrants were smuggled
into western Canada as indentured slaves. They're forced to work
as labourers-Kami in a laundry sweat shop and Eddie in a fruit-packing
warehouse. Both endure conditions and cruelties identical to those
suffered by 1920's Chinese in Canada.
As the Talbots unite to rescue their friends, they link up again
with the younger versions of their family members-grandfather Vance,
great aunt Bea and eventually their grandmother, Sarah. The Marks'
grandparents come into the picture as well and so do several locals,
including Officer Paterson, Vance's step-dad. With everybody's help,
Andrea and Tony solve the mysteries of the tunnels' exits, secret
entrances and hideaways. They free the immigrant workers, uncover
a cache of opium and round up the bad guys. Then the happy foursome
head home to a family gathering with both sets of grandparents and
"so many wonderful memories to share."
The book's a dramatic, enticing, stand-alone adventure with enough
well-placed references to the earlier trips to get a reader interested
in reading them too. It's also an instructional, non-preachy
introduction to, and airing of, a less than noble era in the treatment
of the Chinese in Canada.