I recently read a fascinating article by Greg Quill on the the Toronto Star website which confirmed what librarians have been aware of for several years – the mass appeal of Canadian mystery writers. Agent Michael Levine notes that there are 20 mystery writers in Canada that support themselves through their writing! Canada is the home of a disproportionately large number of mystery and crime writers that have achieved worldwide success and many have had offers for TV or movie adaptations. Greg Quill contends that in many parts of the world, the names of Canadian mystery authors are more well-known that our CanLit icons.
How many of these authors are on your reading radar? These authors have international appeal: Linwood Barclay, Louise Penny, Giles Blunt, Peter Robinson, Andrew Pyper, Maureen Jennings, Alan Bradley, William Deverell, David Rotenberg, Robert Rotenberg, D.J. (Dorothy) McIntosh, Tim Wynne-Jones, Gail Bowen, Joy Fielding, Mike Knowles, Howard Shrier, James W. Nichol, and C.B. Forrest.
On May 30, the winners of the 2013 Arthur Ellis awards were announced. These awards celebrate excellence in Canadian crime writing. The Crime Writers of Canada selected these winners in 2013:
Best First Novel: Simone St. James, The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Best Novel: Giles Blunt, Until the Night
Best Novella: Lou Allin, Contingency Plan
Best Short Story: Yasuko Thanh, “Switch-blade Knife” in Floating Like the Dead
Best Nonfiction: Steve Lillebuen, The Devil’s Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell’s Kill Room
Best Juvenile/YA Book: Shane Peacock, Becoming Holmes
Derrick Murdoch Award: Lyn Hamilton
Movie fans will be interested in the popular DVD series called Murdoch Mysteries. This Canadian series (based on the books by Canadian Maureen Jennings – a British expat) has achieved international success in the past few years. The Victorian era mystery series is set in Toronto. Seasons 1 to 5 are now available through Guelph Public Library.
Here is the Season One summary: In the 1890’s, Detective William Murdoch adopts modern techniques like ‘finger marks’ and forensics to track Toronto’s most sinister killers. Though derided by his skeptical boss, Murdoch finds friends and allies in a lovely pathologist and an eager-to-learn constable. Along the way they
cross paths with some of the era’s most famous figures, including Nikola Tesla,
Arthur Conan Doyle, and Prince Alfred.
This sounds like a great series to watch in air-conditioned comfort on a hot summer day!