Book Reviews

The Queen of Canadian Mystery

Which female Canadian author has written the best mystery novel? Who’s the Queen of Canadian Mystery? Many will say Maureen Jennings, author of the Detective Murdoch series. Others will say Louise Penny, author of the Inspector Gamache series. I say Margaret Atwood. “What the &^$#!” you say. You’re an idiot.” I know. An opinionated idiot. Let the mud fly. 😉

Before I reveal the mystery novel, I’ll relate a few arguments I’ve heard from friends. “Atwood isn’t a mystery writer.” Correct, in as much as she’s not labeled a mystery writer. “Atwood doesn’t need kudos from anyone. She’s already famous.” Also correct. “Pick someone more current.” I will, when the new Queen comes along.

Now, to the question at hand. The best mystery novel written by a female Canadian author is …. Robber Bride.

Get &^$%,” you say, “Robber Bride isn’t a genre novel. It’s literary fiction.” Yep. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a mystery, and a damn fine one. I admit, it’s not noir. I’m also stretching the definition of “mystery novel.” Robber Bride doesn’t feature a detective or a parade of murderees. The reader knows the villain (Zenia) from the start. But you don’t know what she did, or how she did it. That’s the mystery – the howdunit, you might say.

Atwood delivers enough plot twists and obfuscation to please the most demanding of mystery fans. She deploys wry humour and strong prose. She makes you think. However, Robber Bride has its limitations. It isn’t for the hard-boiled. Too much literary description, too much talk of “feelings.” Oh, those dreaded feelings. Me, I like a good dose of feelings now and then. I don’t want noir all the time.

Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. McClelland and Stewart. 1993.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Robber_Bride

CBC Radio One ‘Ontario Morning’ Interview

Ontario Morning‘ host Wei Chen (CBC Radio) invited me to talk about North Noir and Bay of Blood on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

Interview Introduction: Author Andy Potter’s new book Bay of Blood recently hit shelves across the province and is the first in a series that follows fictional OPP Detective Eva Naslund.

To listen to the audio clip on ‘Ontario Morning,’ click the following link. The North Noir/Bay of Blood interview starts at 13:40 of Part 3.

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-112-ontario-morning-from-cbc-radio/clip/15693931-ontario-morning-tuesday-april-30-2019-part-3

If you have any trouble finding the audio clip, go to the ‘Ontario Morning’ homepage and then navigate to the Episodes tab. You’ll see an entry titled Ontario Morning – Tuesday April 30, 2019 – Part 3 (27:00). The North Noir/Bay of Blood interview starts at 13:40 of Part 3.

Three Ways to Read Bay of Blood

A North Noir Hat Trick (Redux)

ONE. Win a Bay of Blood ebook. Simply email your name to amp-northnoir@outlook.com; Subject Line: ‘NN Site.’ Contest closes May 18, 2019.

TWO. Download the free Bay of Blood teaser (14 chapters).

THREE. Get Bay of Blood from your favourite book vendor. Ebook $3.95 USD; print book $14.95 USD. The print book is available at select Chapters/Indigo and Coles locations in Ontario, as well as at indie bookstores. If you can’t find Bay of Blood instore, ask the owner to order the print book from Ingram or Black Opal Books.

If you prefer online vendors, Bay of Blood print books and ebooks are available from: Amazon.ca | Amazon.com | BarnesandNoble | Smashwords | KOBO | Black Opal Books | iTunes | Scribd | ChaptersIndigo

Bay of Blood Synopsis: World-renowned painter Thom Tyler is murdered in Georgian Bay, Canada. The consensus is that Tyler had no enemies. Why would anyone murder him?

Detective Eva Naslund goes to work with a homicide team from OPP Central. They find no useful blood, print, or DNA evidence. They turn to financial forensics and criminal psychology. Tyler’s paintings are worth millions, yet he’s deeply in debt to banks and his art agent. Just as the investigation opens a new lead, courtesy of Tyler’s friend, J.J. MacKenzie, MacKenzie is murdered. The team is back to ground zero — with two murders to solve ….

Bay of Blood is a vivid page-turner of a procedural – and one that promises more from both its writer, A.M. Potter, and its feisty protagonist, Sergeant Eva Naslund.” Steve Heighton, Governor General’s Award Winner | Author of The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep, The Dead Are More Visible and more

“Potter has written the quintessential Canadian murder mystery with a literary flourish and all the elements of a riveting read.” * Lesley Choyce. Author of The Republic of Nothing, Sea of Tranquility, The Book of Michael, among others

“There are many clever details in Potter’s Bay of Blood with close parallels to Tom Thomson’s life and death (1917). However, Potter takes his readers on a fascinating 21st-century chase, with bells and whistles never dreamt of one hundred years ago: cell phones, female detectives, Russian operatives, and shady Toronto art dealers.” * Sherrill Grace. University Killam Professor Emerita, University of British Columbia | Author of Landscapes of War and Memory and Inventing Tom Thomson

Click HERE to see all kudos and full reviews.

Bay of Blood Press Release

NB: The audio clip of my interview with Wei Chen on CBC Radio’s ‘Ontario Morning’ on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 is available via the link below. The interview starts at 13:40 of Part 3.
https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-112-ontario-morning-from-cbc-radio/clip/15693931-ontario-morning-tuesday-april-30-2019-part-3

‘OrilliaMatters’ Press Release: Novel based on bizarre death of Canadian icon set in Georgian Bay.

Bay of Blood, a new novel set in Georgian Bay, is based on the mysterious death of renowned Canadian painter Tom Thomson.

The book’s idea came to author Andy Potter when he was watching a documentary about Thomson’s life and mysterious death called West Wind: The Vision of Tom Thomson. This would make a great novel, Potter thought. Then he thought, No, it wouldn’t. You can’t fly too close to the Tom Thomson myth. It’s sacred. He’s a Canadian icon.

So, Potter wrote a mystery novel based on Thomson’s death. Thomson died on July 8, 1917. The famous painter murdered in Bay of Blood died on July 8, 2017. There are other similarities, but the painter in the novel is not Thomson, and he’s not the main character. The novel’s main character is OPP Detective Sergeant Eva Naslund.

As one of the book’s reviewers says, “Potter takes his readers on a fascinating 21st-century chase, with bells and whistles never dreamt of 100 years ago: cellphones, female detectives, Russian operatives, and shady Toronto art dealers.”

Click here to see the full story.