For the 2013 Crime Fiction Alphabet meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise, I decided the post for each letter of the alphabet would have a personal connection for me. The theme proved as interesting as I had hoped.
Among the early letters "B" allowed me to highlight that the three leading writers of mysteries in Saskatchewan all have surnames beginning with the letter "B". Anthony Bidulka, Gail Bowen and Nelson Brunanski all write fine mysteries set in Saskatchewan. Next week I am going to have a review of The Gifted, Gail's newest book in the Joanne Kilbourn Shreeve series.
"C" was the most unique post. It was a review of Showdown at Border Town by Caroline Woodward. It is the third book in the Leaders & Legacies series featuring the adventures of young Canadian Prime Ministers. This book featured a youthful Paul Martin in the vicinity of Windsor, Ontario. What made the book unique is that the author, writing for the YA market, is a teenager from Ottawa who won a contest to write the book.
"F" set me to thinking about Female Fictional Lawyers. It was my most popular post of the Alphabet it had 436 page views. We live in an era where a majority of law school graduates are women. We shall see if become the majority in legal mystery fiction.
When thinking of an "I" post I looked to one of my bookcases where I had a copy of The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton. The simple appearing Father is actually a brilliant investigator drawing on the information shared with him by criminal parishioners. It is hard to see how a rather dumpy cleric solving mysteries with his brains would be published today. He is the opposite of flashy.
At "L" I was able to draw upon my experience as a lawyer to describe Real Legal Fiction. Where readers are accustomed to legal fiction being stories involving lawyers there are real life legal fictions. Examples include corporations, deemed to be individuals so they can own property and carry on business, and child adoption, where children are deemed to be the children of adopting parents.
For "P" I discussed Canadian author Louise Penny becoming one of the movie producers for the adaptation of Still Life, the first book in her Inspector Armand Gamache series. I subsequently wrote a review of the movie which was telecast last month. While I enjoyed the movie I think she should continue to make being an author her career. I am currently reading How the Light Gets In, the just published 9th book in the series.
The book I wished could have been the best in the alphabet was The Third Riel Conspiracy by Stephen Legault. The entry for "T" featured a mystery set at Batoche, about 125 km from where I live, set at the time of the Riel Rebellion in 1885. A book involving the history and geography of my area excited me. The book was alright but I had hoped for more. For a reader wanting to learn of pioneer life in Western Canada and its history the book is worth reading.
The visual images from Red Mandarin Dress by Qiu Xiaolong will stay with me for a long time. The beautiful red Mandarin dresses in which the murder victims were clothed were at the heart of the mystery.
My favourite book came at "Y" with The Shaman's Knife by Scott Young. Matteesie Kitologitak was a larger than life Inuit sleuth I would like to have known better but Young only wrote two mysteries with Matteesie. Life in Arctic Canada comes alive in the books and Matteesie is a lively character.
It has been another interesting 6 month journey through the alphabet. I encourage readers to go to Mysteries in Paradise to read of the posts of other bloggers of the meme.