Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Canadian, eh?

 By R.J. Harlick

This is the time of year when thoughts turn to gift-giving. Could you suggest four books that would be ideal for "x" type of person?

With such an unseasonably warm November, it is difficult to focus on Christmas gifts. But I see from the calendar that I’d better start thinking about it, since Christmas is less than six weeks away. So here goes.

This week’s question is very apt, because I like to give books as gifts. Most members of my family are readers, thank goodness. The books I generally give are, you guessed it, mysteries by Canadian authors, whether they like mysteries or not. I feel if they don’t, it’s time for them to expand their reading horizons.

I think my nephew with his first baby and our first grand-nephew, five months old and as adorable as only babies can be, might need more laughter in his life. So I’m going to give him Sing a Worried Song, award winning author, William Deverell’s latest in his Arthur Beauchamps series. While the book has its cliff hanging court room drama, it also has its laugh out loud scenes and a one-of-kind setting with a cast of quirky characters on a fictitious Gulf Island on the coast of British Columbia.

For the niece who is a history buff, Janet Kellough’s latest Thaddeus Lewis mystery, Wishful Seeing, would be the perfect book.  Set in Ontario in the mid 1800’s, not only would she discover an intriguing mystery with 19th century court room scenes, she would also learn about the nefarious dealings of early railway ventures.

Another nephew is more interested in gritty police procedurals. Giles Blunt’s latest John Cardinal mystery, Until the Night, would do very well. A floating ice island in the high arctic, a serial killer who kills his victims by freezing them to death and a swingers’ world inhabited by an ex-rocker, there is more than enough meat in this Arthur Ellis award winning novel for my nephew to sink his teeth into.

Finally, for my travelling niece, I will send her to Newfoundland by giving her award winning author, 
Barbara Fradkin’s, Fire in the Stars, the first in the Amanda Doucette series.  Amanda, an international aid worker attempting to rebuild her life, joins forces with the RCMP to try to find a friend and her son, who’ve gone missing on the rugged landscape of The Rock. 

There are so many good Canadian books to choose from, it was a tough decision. If you are in the hunt for a good book by a Canadian author may I suggest you check out Crime Writers of Canada’s  Cool Canadian Crime, a catalogue of new releases.

As for my Christmas gift, I’d love to receive a copy of this year’s Governor General's Award winner and the Scotia Bank Giller Prize winner, Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.


Art Taylor said...

Fun post here, RJ, and fine suggestions! Much talk about Canada over the last week, as you know, so good to give people a sample of the place through books too.... ;-)

Kristopher said...

This list of Canadian releases is just what I needed. As a beginning thinking about Bouchercon Toronto prep, this will be very useful.

Thanks RJ.

Holly West said...

Well, if we can't all move to Canada, at least we can read Canadian authors. Thanks for this list of recommendations.

Susan C Shea said...

It surprises me that we don't see more crime fiction by Canadian authors on the shelves. We see Iceland and Zimbabwe and Italy all the time. Why are these names (thank you for them) less familiar?

Paul D. Marks said...

Some great suggestions, RJ. Thanks.

RJ Harlick said...

Susan, a good question. All these books are available from Amazon and other online sources. Some specialty mystery stores carry Canadian titles, but the chances of of Canadian books appearing on the shelves of the big box stores are next to nil. I imagine it is because they are published by Canadian publishers and not in the quantities that larger stores require for national distribution. But since they are available through US distributers, it would be a simple matter of requesting them through a special order.