Tag: Crime Fiction
I may have told you this before, but I first met Louise Penny in an elevator. It was in a hotel during the author's festival, and she graciously held the door for me as I was rushing to meet one of Raincoast's authors.
It was, I'm sure, my first year here and she didn't know me from Adam. It didn't stop her, however, from introducing herself and her husband Michael, and chattingly merrily all the way down to the lobby.
That chance meeting proved fortuitous the following year when I needed an endorsement for a book Raincoast was publishing. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale was the true story of a Victorian murder investigation, and even though I'd only met her the once, Louise seemed a perfect reader. Politely pretending to remember who I was, she kindly obliged and blurbed the hell out of it.
It felt like strange serendipity then, when I found out a couple of years ago that Raincoast was going to be Louise's Canadian distributor, and I was going to be assigned to her and the seventh Chief Inspector Gamache novel A Trick of the Light.
We all felt a certain weight of responsibility when the book came out I'm sure—we all wanted it to do so well for Louise who had been so patient for success—but I think I felt it particularly keenly. I was pretty sure I owed her.
Fortunately the book was a great success, although it was a nail-biting few weeks. And the next book, The Beautiful Mystery, did even better.
Now, two years later, I'm no longer Louise's publicist but it still fills me great pleasure to see her new book, How the Light Gets In, debut at #1 this week on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction bestseller list and #1 on the Bookmanager Hardcover Fiction list. With a sell-out event at the Toronto Public Library on September 17th, I couldn't be happier for her. And only MaddAddam has kept Louise off the #1 spot on Globe and Mail Fiction list this week, and I can't begrudge Margaret Atwood that too much—she used buy books from my store, and kindly tell me what to read. I don't suppose she remembers though...
When the badly beaten body of a young journalist is found in the canal, Dublin pathologist Quirke and his sometime partner Inspector Hackett find the investigation into his death obstructed Roman Catholic priest and a notorious, tight-lipped 'tinker' called Packie Joyce.
As with all the Quirke novels, the joy of Holy Orders, is not in the plot (the whodunit is almost beside the point), but in the stylish prose and vivid characterization of the gloomy, slowly disintegrating Quirke and his world—the rainy streets, smoky pubs, and dark apartments of Dublin in the 1950s.
There is an appropriately noirish tone to all Black's writing (the pen name is surely not a coincidence). The Dublin of the novel is secretive and claustrophobic, and the loneliness, fear, and impending violence that haunt Holy Orders comes to head an uncompromising, but satisfying ending that will leave readers anxious for the next book.
Crime fiction fans should be delighted that Black has penned a new Philip Marlowe story, The Black-Eyed Blonde, to be published in 2014.
Four Canadian crime authors are joining forces this month to visit libraries in seven Southwestern Ontario towns — Woodstock,Orangeville, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, Thornbury, and Orillia — for a literary crime spree.
The Crime Tour authors are Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robert Rotenberg, and Robin Spano. All four are relatively fresh faces on the crime-fiction scene, though they have 15 novels (count them!) published amongst them over the past four years.
This is the second time Davidson, Hamilton, and Spano have toured together. In June 2012, they visited a series of libraries in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, from Vancouver to Squamish, with novelist Deryn Collier. Since Collier was unable to travel this year, the trio will bejoined by Toronto-based Rotenberg.
“We are all writers who rage on the page,” says Robin Spano. “But we are really friendly in real life. Whether you're an aspiring writer looking for inspiration or you love books and are intrigued by what goes into their creation, we hope you'll come away having learned something.”
Thursday, May 9,2013, Woodstock, ON, 2pm
Woodstock Art Gallery / sponsored by Woodstock Public Library
449 Dundas St., Woodstock, ON, N4S 1C2
This event is free and open to the public.
Thursday, May 9,2013, Orangeville, ON, 7pm
375 Hansen Blvd., Orangeville, ON, L9W 0C2
Tickets are $10 with proceeds going to the University Women Scholarship Fund.
Friday, May 10, 2013, Cambridge, ON, 9:30am
Clemens Mill Library
50 Saginaw Parkway, Cambridge, ON, N1T 1W2
This event is free and open to the public
Friday, May 10, 2013, Guelph, ON, 1pm
Guelph Public Library
100 Norfolk Street, Guelph, ON, N1H 4J6
This event is free and open to the public.
Friday, May 10, 2013, Brantford, ON, 4:30pm
Brantford Public Library
173 Colborne Street, Brantford, ON, N3T 2G8
This event is free and open to the public.
Saturday, May 11,2013, Thornbury, ON, 1pm
L.E. Shore Memorial Library
173 Bruce Street South, Thornbury, ON, N0H 2P0
This event is free and open to the public.
Sunday, May 12, 2013,Orillia, ON, 1pm
“Murder and Mayhem on Mother’s Day at Manticore”
103 Mississauga Street,Orillia, ON, L3V 1V6
This event is free and open to the public.
About the Authors:
Hilary Davidson’s debut, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. It also earned a Crimespree Award and was a finalist for an Arthur Ellis and a Macavity award. Her third novel, Evil in All Its Disguises, was released on March 5, 2013. Says the Los Angeles Review of Books: “Her voice is a freshand welcome addition to the noir landscape.”
Ian Hamilton’s first novel, The Water Rat of Wanchai, won the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel. It was also chosen by Quill and Quire as one of the top five novels of 2011 and was nominated for a CBC bookie award. The fifth book in the Ava Lee series, The Scottish Banker of Surabaya, was published on February 16, 2013. Says The Toronto Star: “Ava Lee is unbeatableat just about everything…She’s perfect. She’s fast.”
Robert Rotenberg’s debut, Old City Hall, was called “a hard-boiled classic” by The Globe & Mail and widely praised by Entertainment Weekly, Maclean’s, and Kirkus. The book was shortlisted for a Dagger Award and a Thriller Award. A prominent criminal lawyer with Rotenberg, Shidlowski & Jesin, his fourth novel, Stranglehold, will be published on May7, 2013.
Robin Spano’s undercover protagonist Clare Vengel has been described as a “slightly slutty grown up Nancy Drew.” Spano has been dubbed one of Canada’s Hot New Crime Writers by Crime Fiction Lover. She has fast developed a loyal following with her “smart, stylish and sharp” writing in Dead Politician Society and Death Plays Poker. Her third novel, Death’s Last Run, has just been released.
In 2011, Canadian writer Hilary Davidson won the Anthony Award for her debut novel The Damage Done. The book also earned a Crimespree Award and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis and Macavity awards.
I met Hilary a year later when she came to back Toronto to promote her second novel The Next One to Fall. I was positively taken aback that someone quite so charming and successful spent so much time thinking about how to dramatically kill people! Appearances can be deceptive, apparently...
Now a resident of New York, Hilary is a travel journalist and the author of 18 nonfiction books and countless short stories. You can also find her all over the web, including on Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.
With the release of her Evil In All Its Disguises tomorrow, Hilary (being so nice and all) kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the Raincoast blog about her writing, travel, social media and more. Just remember, however lovely Hilary seems while you're reading this, she is out there secretly plotting something dastardly. Take my word for it...
Do you remember when you first became interested in becoming a writer?
If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll say it’s a lifelong obsession. When I was in elementary school, I won a short-story writing contest in Crackers Magazine. It was called “Ameteafear’s Tomb,” and I blame it for putting me on this dark and twisted path. That, and Nancy Drew books, or course. They’re the gateway drug to crime novels.
What was your first writing job?
Paid or unpaid? I started early, founding a newspaper at my elementary school when I was in Grade Five. In high school, I worked on the student newspaper, which was rather appropriately called The Cuspidor. At the University of Toronto, I worked on a couple of newspapers and interned at the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, writing for its newsletter. But it wasn’t until I started freelancing while I was on staff at Canadian Living magazine that I made money from writing. The first cheque I earned was for writing a travel piece about New Orleans’ cemeteries for the travel section of The Globe & Mail.
What was the appeal of travel writing?
I’ve always learned so much when I travel, and I want to share that when I come home. I remember visiting Pompeii and being amazed by the brothels there. They have some very vivid murals on their walls! That was a kind of delightful surprise, and it turned into another travel story for The Globe & Mail. A few years ago, I spent three weeks in Peru, and that gave me a tremendous amount of inspiration, both for fiction and nonfiction. I’m obsessed with Inca history and culture, and my second novel, The Next One to Fall, let me explore that in great detail. Killing a (fictional) tourist at Machu Picchu was an unusual way to show my appreciation, but I was struck by both the grandeur of the site and the danger there when I visited.
Where are you going next?
My upcoming travels are all related to my tour for Evil in All Its Disguises. I start at the Tucson Festival of Books, then hit Scottsdale, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Denver, Colorado Springs, Austin, Houston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Toronto. After that, who knows? Last year, I did a weeklong tour of BC with Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano, and Deryn Collier, three of my favourite crime writers, and we’ve been talking about doing something similar this year, possibly in Ontario. Last year, I was lucky enough to visit Israel and Argentina. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go anytime soon, but I’m dying to visit Cambodia.
How has your journalism informed your fiction?
Being a journalist teaches how to grab your audience’s interest quickly, and it makes you shameless about asking questions to figure out how things work. Even though I’m writing fiction, my books are set in the real world, and I like to get the details right. That’s made me do things like go to a gun range to shoot targets, because I wanted to feel the weight of a gun in my hand before writing about it.
What else inspires your crime writing?
Sometimes things that have happened to me or someone I know have a way of getting into my work. Evil in All Its Disguises is the third book featuring Lily Moore, but it’s a standalone mystery about the disappearance of a journalist in Acapulco. It’s the first time that the scenario for one of my books was directly inspired by real-life events — in this case, the disappearance of a Frommer’s Travel Guides editor who vanished while on a press trip to Jamaica in 2000. The book is a work of fiction, but the circumstances around her disappearance have always haunted me, and I wanted to explore that.
Who are some of your favourite crime writers?
It’s such a long list! Some classic favourites: Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith, Dorothy L. Hughes, and Donald Westlake. For contemporary crime fiction, it includes Laura Lippman, Walter Mosley, Megan Abbott, Ken Bruen, Linda Fairstein, Kate Atkinson, Chris F. Holm, Dennis Tafoya, Jennifer Hillier, Louise Penny, Denise Mina, and Dennis Lehane.
What is your next book about?
It's the story of a wealthy, adulterous couple who go away together for a weekend and are abducted. The strange behaviour of their kidnappers makes one of the victims wonder who they’re really working for. After the couple’s bodies are found—apparently killed in an accident—it's up to the dead woman’s brother and one of the kidnappers to figure out what really happened that weekend.
When can we expect Lily to return? Readers are going to miss her!
I definitely have more plans for Lily! She will be back. My first three books — The Damage Done, The Next One to Fall, and Evil in All Its Disguises — follow her through a short space of time. They’re set just a few months apart. When readers see her again, more time will have elapsed.
Are you still writing short stories?
Absolutely. Short stories let me explore all kinds of characters and voices and scenarios that I wouldn’t necessarily want to follow throughout a book. I also love writing short fiction because it’s helped me reach audiences who wouldn’t necessarily have picked up my books otherwise. I’m up for a Derringer Award right now for a story about a couple whose relationship is falling apart because one of them wants to visit a dominatrix. I’ve got stories coming up in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and in a new publication from Macmillan called the Malfeasance Occasional.
When did you become interested in vintage fashion?
When I was fourteen, I started shopping in Toronto’s Kensington Market, so I got hooked on vintage early. My mom and grandmother were always very stylish dressers, so they inspired me. I love the idea of wearing clothes that have a history — it’s like they have their own stories to tell.
Who are some of your fashion icons?
A few years ago, I saw an exhibit about Elsa Schiaparelli, and I instantly fell in love. Her approach to fashion was just so irreverent and playful. For instance, she designed a pair of glamorous, elbow-length black evening gloves with pointed gold talons attached. They look like bear claws! To me, that’s the ultimate in chic.
You’re very engaged with social media. As a writer do you find being online a help or a hindrance?
The best thing about social media is that it introduces you to a lot of interesting people. The worst thing is that some people mistake it for a megaphone, and they think it’s just a means to publicize their own books. For me, it’s all about the social — I get into a lot of interesting conversations with people, and I was invited to the first-ever QuebeCrime conference thanks to Twitter. It’s definitely a help, but I have to limit myself, because otherwise I’d be online chatting with people all day instead of getting any work done!
When we’ve finished reading Evil In All Its Disguises, what should we read next?
I’m looking forward to reading Brad Parks’ latest, The Good Cop, and Andrew Pyper’s The Demonologist, which I’ve heard wonderful things about. My TBR (To Be Read) pile just keeps growing and growing. That’s true for everyone who loves books, isn’t it?
Andrew Hunt, professor of U.S. History at University of Waterloo, will be reading from his award-winning new crime novel City of Saints at Words Worth Books in Waterloo on Monday night with Rawi Hage, acclaimed author of De Niro's Game, Cockroach, and Carnival, starting at 7pm.
Winner of the 2011 Hillerman Prize, City of Saints is based on a true yet largely forgotten murder that once captivated the nation but still remains unsolved eighty years later.
When a beautiful socialite turns up dead, Art Oveson, a twenty-something husband, father, and devout Mormon just getting his start as a sheriff’s deputy, finds himself thrust into the role of detective. With his partner, a foul-mouthed former strikebreaker, he begins to pursue the murderer—or murderers. His search takes him into the underbelly of Salt Lake City, a place rife with blackmail, corruption, and death.
Andrew Hunt and Rawi Hage
Words Worth Books
Monday October 29, 7pm
96 King St South, Waterloo,
Award-winning Canadian crime-writer Hilary Davidson (The Damage Done, The Next One To Fall) is visiting the fair province of British Columbia next week, kicking off a tour of bookstores and libraries with fellow authors Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier with an event at the W2 Media Cafe in Vancouver on Sunday afternoon. Full details of the tour, which includes Squamish, Richmond and Burnaby, are below. See you there?
Sunday June 17 2012: Vancouver, 2-5 p.m.
Real Vancouver Crime: Join Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio as he hosts The Crime Tour (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier) for an afternoon of readings at W2 Media Café (111 West Hastings St., Vancouver; 604-689-9896) on Vancouver's Lower East Side. Open to the public; $5 cover.
Monday June 18 2012: Squamish, BC, 6:30pm-8pm
Murder in the Woods: The Crime Tour (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier) travels up the Sunshine Coast to the Squamish Public Library (37907 2nd Avenue, Squamish, BC; 604-892-3110) for an evening of chatting mystery and writing in the wooded beauty of the Sea-to-Sky highway. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be for sale on site by Armchair Books.
Tuesday June 19 2012: Vancouver, 1pm-3pm
Come down to Chapters on Robson & Howe (788 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC; 604-682-4066) to meet and visit with The Crime Tour authors (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier).
Tuesday June 19 2012: Richmond, BC, 7pm-9pm
A Mystery Evening to Die For: Join The Crime Tour authors (Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, Robin Spano and Deryn Collier) for a full evening of author readings, a panel discussion on the writing process and a lengthy Q&A at the Richmond Public Library Brighouse (Main) Branch (100-7700 Minoru Gate Richmond, BC; 604-231-6422). Books will be available for sale on site from Dead Write Books.
Thursday June 21 2012: Burnaby, BC, 7pm-8:30pm
“Triple Threat: Chicks Who Solve Crime!” featuring Hilary Davidson, Robin Spano, and Deryn Collier at the McGill Branch of the Burnaby Public Library (4595 Albert Street, Burnaby, BC).The program is free but the library asks that people sign up in advance online, or by calling 604-299-8955.
A Trick of the Light, the latest Chief Inspector Gamache novel by Canadian author Louise Penny, is currently sitting pretty on the national bestseller lists and is garnering glowing reviews from the likes of the Globe and Mail and the New York Times.
Louise is currently on tour in Canada and has spent the last week in the Waterloo Region of Ontario as part of One Book, One Community.
This weekend, however, she will be heading west!
On Saturday evening you can catch her at Bolen Books in Victoria and then on Sunday afternoon she will be in conversation with Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit founder of yoyomama and reading from A Trick of the Light at the Chapters bookstore at Granville and Broadway in Vancouver.
Next week, Louise will be in Winnipeg at the Grant Park McNally Robinson on Tuesday September 27th at 8pm.
Then, to round off tour, Louise will be heading home to Quebec where she will be appearing at Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore on October 6th as part of their 'After Dark' reading series.
Here are all the details:
Victoria: Saturday September 24th, 7:00 pm
Bolen Books in Hillside Centre
Vancouver: Sunday September 25th, 2:00 pm
Chapters, 2505 Granville Street
Winnipeg: Tuesday September 27th, 8:00pm
McNally Robinson, Grant Park in Prairie Ink Restaurant
Montreal: Thursday October 6th
Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore
Here are the dates for your agenda:
Saturday August 27th 2011 / Knowlton
Brome Lake Books at 2:00pm (ticketed)
Monday August 29th 2011 / Toronto
Sleuth of Baker Street at 6:00pm
Sept 13th—14th / One Book, One Island / PEI
Tues: Charlottetown PE Confederation Centre Public Library at 2:00pm
Weds: Summerside PE Bibliothèque publique J-Henri-Blanchard at 2:00pm
Weds: Montague PE Montague Rotary Library at 7:00pm
Sunday September 18th, 2011 / Montreal, Quebec
Chapters Centre-ville at 2:00pm
Sept 20th—22nd / One Book, One Community / Kitchener-Waterloo
Tues: Kitchener, Victoria Park Pavilion (time TBC)
Weds: New Hamburg, Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School (time TBC)
Weds: Waterloo, First United Church (time TBC)
Thurs: Cambridge, (details TBC)
Saturday September 24th, 2011 / Victoria
Bolen Books at 7:00pm
Sunday September 25th, 2011 / Vancouver
Chapters on Granville at 2:00pm
Tuesday September 27th, 2011 / Winnipeg
McNally Robinson Grant Park at 8:00pm
Thursday October 6th / Montreal
Paragraphe Books (Details TBC)