Friday, 29 April 2016

The Ghost Fields - A Review

THE GHOST FIELDS by Elly Griffiths

Land developers are excavating a “ghost field” – what they call the abandoned WWII airstrips – when they come across a body in one of the left behind planes.  Thinking, of course, that it was a fighter pilot they call in Ruth Galloway, forensic anthropologist and, our main character.  Ruth quickly determines that it could not be the pilot as this was a more recently deceased person, so who was seated in the cockpit?  DNA tests reveal that it is the body of a local aristocrat but that only adds to the mystery as he had disappeared during the war and was not seen or heard from again.

Ruth and DCI Nelson have their own history (he is the father of her daughter … long story) so, as usual, things are tense between them.  While they are busy trying to solve the airplane mystery Nelson’s wife has a little adventure of her own.  Does this mean that the detective and Ruth may finally end up together?  Yet to be seen.

This is the seventh entry in this series and, for me, was unfortunately the weakest to date.  Despite some interesting history, the side story involving Nelson’s wife and Ms. Griffiths always vivid description of the bleak Norfolk landscape this book did not hold my attention in the same way as its predecessors.  Fans of the series will still enjoy it and I am glad I read it, but this is not one to rave about.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her Amazon Author page)

Elly Griffiths was born in London in 1963. Her first crime novel The Crossing Places is set on the Norfolk coast where she spent holidays as a child and where her aunt still lives. Her interest in archaeology comes from her husband, Andrew, who gave up his city job to retrain as an archaeologist. She lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England, with her husband and two children.

I Love "Good News" Stories

Reported by Nate Scott in  USA TODAY

The caption reads ...

One New Orleans steward came out to her Little Library and found this surprising note: “Thank You who ever you are for have-ing the book box. I’m 46 I learned to read 4 yrs ago & the libary how ever its spelled is to far. I just moved from Maine so I dont know alot of places. So Again Thank You! From a Neiphor spelled wrong sorry.” #givebooks

The Little Free Library is a free nationwide system of small, side of the road lending libraries where people are invited to drop off books, take books, and share in the wonder of reading.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Watcher in the Wall - A Review


It’s a sad fact, but a fact none-the-less; teenagers commit suicide.  Thousands of young people take their own lives every year so what made Adrian Miller’s death so different?   Kirk Stevens daughter went to school with Adrian and while they were not close friends – Adrian didn’t really have any friends – she comes to her father’s FBI-BCA office with a concern that cannot be ignored; Adrian had some online help in ending his life.

Although this is not the type of case that usually gets the attention of Kirk Stevens, Carla Windermere and their team Kirk’s daughter’s insistence makes them take a closer look … but how do you find a killer that lurks behind the walls of many private websites and chatrooms using even more alias’?  Especially when the stakes are getting higher and more kids are on the suicide track thanks to a bullied kid who turned into a bully himself – the kind of bully that kills without once stepping away from the keyboard.

“The Watcher in the Wall” is the fifth in the Stevens/Windermere series and, in my opinion, the best of the bunch so far.  Mr. Laukkanen finally gives up on the secret attraction between Carla and Kirk and lets them get on with the police work they do so well.  Without that trope distracting me I found this moved along at a nice brisk pace.  In the past books, which I enjoyed a great deal, we learned a lot about Kirk Stevens’ private life and in this one it was time to learn a little bit more about Carla Windermere and what we learn gives credence to her doggedness in wanting to solve this case. 

Any time an author undertakes writing a series there is always the “cookie-cutter” element which admittedly, after Mr. Laukkanen’s last book I was afraid was beginning to seep into this series but this book totally eliminated that fear.   The ending was a little overdone in terms of the bad guy’s stamina, but still a solid entry into the series.

As I read the author acknowledgement at the end of the book it became clear to me why  I felt this entry was a step above the rest in the series.  As Mr. Laukkanen explains ...

“Watcher in the Wall” is inspired very loosely by real-life incidents, but it’s also a fairly personal book for me.  I’ve dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts since I was a teenager, and it’s only now, two decades later, that I’ve started taking real steps to deal with it.  In some ways, this book is a response to the dark stuff.”

It takes courage to put your personal demons into a book even if it is a work of fiction and no doubt that is part of what made such a good read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his webpage)

A graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing program, Laukkanen spent three years in the world of professional poker reporting before turning to fiction. He currently lives in Vancouver, where he’s hard at work on the sixth installment in the Stevens and Windermere series.

10 Books on Being Canadian, Just in Case ... Well, You Know!

I don’t have a horse in the race but I have been watching with equal parts amusement and trepidation what is going on in the U.S. presidential election.  I’ve also heard much chatter from famous and not-so famous folks about moving to Canada if Mr. Trump is successful in his bid for office.  Having swept five primaries in the Eastern states Mr. Trump has thrown down the gauntlet …

When you get here and you feel ready to go “oot and aboot” (which we DO NOT really say) I’d love to meet you at Timmies for a double double.  Then I can explain some things such as why the air hurts your face in January?  Why, if you pay for your $1.98 purchase with a Toonie you will not get any change back?  And just exactly how many calories there are in Poutine (LOTS)!  Aside from those important things, being your friendly neighbour (YES – we put the letter ‘u’ in strange places in words - curse you American spell-check) to the north I thought I’d help out with the learning curve.  So, here’s a list of books and other things that may make your transition from ‘merican to canajun a little easier.

Just one more thing ... I’m sorry (yes, it’s true, we do apologize often and for no reason) even I cannot explain why books cost more in Canada than in the U.S.

Canajun, Eh?

This is basically an American to Canadian word and phrase book.  You should probably carry it around with you for the first little while, as it will help explain some of the differences in our English.  Examples such as knowing how to pronounce “Tronno” will keep you from getting embarrassed because if you pronounce the second ‘t’ in Toronto … well … it’s a dead giveaway that you are not from here.  It will also help you out with common acronyms such as “Arsee-Empee” (R.C.M.P.) – Dudley Do-Right

Only in Canada You Say

This is an excellent companion book to Canajun, Eh?  Ask any Canadian about a distinctly Canadian form of English, and most will offer an enthusiastic Bob-and-Doug-McKenzie 'eh' in response. A passionate few might also bring up the colour vs. color debate or our pronunciations of 'out' and 'about'. And some may point to the ubiquitous Canadian toque as evidence of a language that is all our own. If this is your idea of Canadian English, then it might surprise you that Katherine Barber, Editor-in-Chief of the best-selling Canadian Oxford Dictionary and author of the best-selling Six Words You Never Knew Had Something to Do With Pigs, has written a new book filled with nothing but made-in-Canada vocabulary. Only in Canada You Say highlights more than 1,200 words and phrases that are unique to our neck of the woods. Did you know, for example, that every time you ask for Gravol at the drug store, you're using a word that is unknown anywhere else? That those tasty butter tarts your mother used to make don't exist beyond our borders? Or that there are three distinctly Canadian sex words? And jokes about living in the Great White North aside, it is still pretty interesting to discover that there are 17 Canadian words for ice! 

Pogey, Poutine and Warm, Furry Beavers

A frenetic celebration of all things Canucky … the sort of result you might get if you pumped Dave Barry full of maple syrup and Moosehead, then left him tied up in a sack for a week with Ron James and the Littlest Hobo.  If none of that makes any sense then I guess you need to check out the book?

Canadian History for Dummies by Will Ferguson

This just proves that contrary to popular belief and the opinion of all grade seven students in the Canadian school system Canadian History can be fun!

Truthfully, almost anything by Will Ferguson that you can get your hands on will help your transition.

Mr. Fergusons was born in the former fur-trading post of Vermilion (population 840) in Northern Canada.  After some traveling and marriage Mr. Ferguson and his wife moved to Prince Edward Island where Mr. Ferguson found work with a local travel company selling Ann of Green Gables tours to Japanese tourists.  (Really … if that doesn’t qualify you as an expert on all things Canadian I don’t know what does?) 

Will Ferguson's publishing debut, Why I Hate Canadians, was released in September 1997, and went on to sell over 50,000 copies.

The follow-up, How to Be a Canadian, written with his brother Ian, has now sold 200,000 copies and won the CBA Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

In 2002, Will Ferguson was shortlisted twice for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour: once for Happiness(aka. "Generica") and again for How to Be a Canadian.  There are only five books on the final shortlist, and this was the first time in the history of the Leacock Award that an author had been nominated twice in the same year. (Happiness went on to win.)

In 2005, he won his second Leacock Award for Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw. He was also awarded the Pierre Berton Award by Canada’s National History Society.

Speaking of Pierre Berton, anyone wanting to take a more serious approach to learning about The Great White North should most definitely invest in a personal library of Mr. Berton’s books. 

Pierre Berton spent his early newspaper career in Vancouver, where at 21 he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He moved to Toronto in 1947, and at the age of 31 was named managing editor of Maclean's magazine. In 1957, he became a key member of the CBC's public affairs flagship program, Close-Up, and a permanent panelist on Front Page Challenge. He joined The Toronto Star as associate editor and columnist in 1958, leaving in 1962 to commence The Pierre Berton Show, which ran until 1973.

His books include “My Country” in which Mr. Berton brings the past alive with true stories of mystery and romance, tragedy and heroism, from the piracy of Bill Johnston, scourge of the St. Lawrence, to the weird saga of Brother XII and his mystic cult on Vancouver Island.

“Niagara” which is full of heroes and villains, eccentrics and daredevils, scientists, and power brokers, Niagara has a contemporary resonance: how a great natural wonder created both the industrial heartland of southern Ontario and the worst pollution on the continent.

“The Invasion of Canada” … to America's leaders in 1812, an invasion of Canada seemed to be "a mere matter of marching," as Thomas Jefferson confidently predicted. How could a nation of 8 million fail to subdue a struggling colony of 300,000? Yet, when the campaign of 1812 ended, the only Americans left on Canadian soil were prisoners of war.

Should you not want to immigrate to Canada you might consider reading the Canada Party Manifesto, “America, But Better”.  As the American election increasingly resembles a production of CATS performed by actual cats, U.S. citizens are looking for a new leader. That leader is Canada, and they want your vote for president of the United States.

Since launching their viral video campaign in January, the Canada Party has been covered around the world, including CNN, BBC, the Huffington Post, and German State Television. America, but Better: the Canada Party Manifesto, balances the doctrine of American exceptionalism with a dose of Canadian humility and common sense to secure Canada as the new leader of the free world, by proxy.

Their promises: One gay couple will be allowed to marry for every straight couple that gets divorced. The phrase "job creators" will be changed to "job creationists," and they will be given seven days to actually create some.  Corporations will still be people, but if they can't provide a birth certificate they will be legally obligated to care for your lawn. Corners will be installed in the Oval Office, and timeouts given to congressmen who can't play nice.

Devoted to restoring America to its former glory, the Canada Party will soon have the whole world chanting, "Yes We Canada."

 If reading isn’t your style you can always resort to film. 

The recent documentary style movie “Being Canadian” takes you on a tour of well-known and out-of-the-way places with some of Canada’s iconic celebrities … you know, those folks that will be making their back across the border should … well you know!

And, of course, “Men With Brooms”, this movie will not only teach you what you need to know about curling (sort of) but also what to do if you end up trapped in the middle of a colony (yes, that’s what a group of beavers is called – you’re welcome) and how to get the Canadian girl of your dreams (if you are Paul Gross that is).

Friday, 22 April 2016

Prince Helped Save Historic Library

A little known Prince factoid. When Prince read that Louisville was going close the Western Branch Library
(which is the first full service library for African Americans in country) he wrote a $12,000 check to the Western Branch Library Association to support the library.

Louisville Western Branch Library opened in 1905 as the first library in the nation to provide services exclusively for the African-American community, utilizing only African-American staff.

Albert Meyzeek, during his tenure as principal of Central High School, was concerned about the lack of adequate reference and reading materials at his school, and he argued to the City Library Committee that African-Americans should have access to a library. He succeeded.

Before the library was built — one of nine Carnegie libraries in the LFPL system — the city rented three rooms of a private residence at 1125 W. Chestnut St.

RIP Prince

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

My Mad Fat Diary - A Review


Most people would be mortified if someone read their diary – especially their teenage years diary.

Rae Earl has published hers.

Granted, at one point in her life she wanted to burn it on the barbecue and they are now 25+ years old, but some of the issues are still relevant today.  Give this book to teenagers and hope it becomes a jumping point for some important conversation.

When Ms. Earl began writing in her diary she was 17 years old, attending a private secondary school on a “scholarship scheme” tuition grant and recently released from a psychiatric ward.  Even she admits that some of the aspects of her life would make people call “bullsh**” but with the exception of some editing (to protect the innocent) this is her diary.

Rae had three pretty basic goals as a teenager; complete her A-levels, lose weight and find someone who would love her (translate that into “lose her virginity”), not necessarily in that order.  The two strongest desires were to lose weight and stop being a “cow” and to acquire a boyfriend.  Even Rae admitted that neither of these was likely to happen.  In Rae’s own words “Frankly, to use late 1980’s terminology, I was gagging for it.  Like most teenagers, I was desperate to lose my virginity.  However, I already had a lover that made me look pregnant but actually ensured that I would never, ever become a teenage pregnancy statistic; Food.”

Rae Earl circa 1989
In many ways this was a difficult book to read.  Obvious from her “forward” in the book, Ms. Earl has a sense of humor now and after reading “My Mad Fat Diary” it’s also clear she had one then … some of the things she writes are very funny.  However, overall I found the diary very sad, what might be typical teenage issues made worse by budding OCD and obvious issues with food that were often difficult to read about.  As each page turned I also had a growing concern about the monumental consumption of alcohol that seemed very commonplace amongst her group of friends.  Even her “Mum” did not have issues with her heading out to the pub every night.  (I did!)  I also wish teenaged Rae had been able to step outside herself long enough to give “Ryan, the RAF groper” a second look.  I hate to make the comparison, but My Mad Fat Diary could be described as a non-fiction “Duff”.

As I am formulating this review I find it difficult to type the words “I enjoyed this book” because it seems wrong.  I am glad I read it and I understand that the next year of her journal has also been published as “My Madder Fatter Diary”.  I came to care enough about Rae and her friends to want to pick it up.

This book was originally published in 2007 and I was unaware that in 2013 became a hit television series starring Sharon Rooney.  As I reached the halfway point in the book I kept thinking that it should be made into a movie.

I received a copy of this book at no charge from the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from The Telegraph)

Rae Earl is an English writer and broadcaster.  Born in Stamford, United Kingdom she now resides in Hobart Australia with her husband, Kevin and their children.

“Digging out nine battered old red school exercise books, and some scrawled Filofax pages, Earl shows me her actual diaries, started in 1989 and continuing into the 1990s. There’s disturbing stuff in here about bullying, obesity and mental illness. But there’s also a typical teenage girl’s lust for love, life and boys, and the sharp writing and spirited attitude make for an uplifting read. ‘Black humour was my saviour. I was very aware I had to find a way to cope with my head,’ says Earl. The diaries proved the perfect strategy.”

Eight Days - A Review

EIGHT DAYS by Scott Thompson

“Clive Kinsella looked at his body in the coffin and thought
how much it reminded him of a stuffed bass.
He had several fish mounted on his walls back home,
and this must be his payback.”

Odd to be standing at your own funeral looking at your earthly remains.  The last thing Clive remembered was being in his driveway packing his car for a trip.  He was finally going to see all those places he had wanted to visit for years … thanks to the sudden heart attack that was not going to happen now.  Or was it?

So starts the telling of Clive’s “reckoning”.  When his beloved grandfather Pachu, who has been dead for many years, arrives Clive is surprised to be told that he would be revisiting pivotal times in his life to complete his “reckoning” – his reconciliation with decisions and actions before he enters Heaven.  Although Clive knows he has lived a good life a quick mental rundown of possible “reckoning” moments does not fill him with joy.  We all have painful and not-too-proud moments and Clive did not relish the thought of revisiting some of them.  But his reward would be, after each reckoning, to travel to one of the places he had planned to visit.  Everyone’s reckoning is different and Clive’s would last a total of eight days … would the reward be worth it?  Clive had his doubts.

I do not often read spiritual books because whatever faith or belief system I, or anyone else, embraces is personal and I do not want to be sermonized in my reading.  But occasionally, as in the case of “Eight Days”, the book description is too tempting to pass up.  I was glad I gave in to this particular temptation.  Yes, there were mentions of God, Heaven and Hell but they fit perfectly into the context of the story and I found them in no way personally offensive or "preachy" – after all – don’t we all at some moments in our lives call out to one, hope for the other and dread the third?

Mr. Thompson gave me a beautiful story of one man's life, a life that was filled with the trials, tribulations, angst, love, guilt and doubt we all experience.  There were parts of Clive’s story that had me smiling knowingly and parts that made me laugh out loud.  As we all do, Clive experienced sudden tragic events that surprised and shocked me and sad, tender moments that had me in tears.  The last few pages of this book were very difficult to read as the words blurred in the eye-mistiness but when I came to the end I knew I had read an exceptionally lovely story.  Occasionally it is nice to read a book that warms your heart and touches your emotions; a book that you can feel comfortable gifting or recommending to almost everyone. 

My sincerest thanks to Pen Name Publishing and the author for making this book available to me at no charge in the hopes of an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his Amazon page)

Scott Thompson was born in Georgia. His family moved almost every year of his young life, but still remained in the South where Thompson experienced the intelligent and eccentric people of the region who stoked his imagination and provided him with a lifetime of stories to tell.

Thompson lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with his family. His writing can be read in regional magazines like Georgia Backroads and Southern Writers Magazine. Other writings can be read at, where Thompson is a founding editor. He is the winner of the Great American Novel contest in literature for 2010, and was nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, first novel.

Books on Books

I haven’t posted one of these in quite some time, but I do love it when a character in a book loves books!

From “Eight Days” by Scott Thompson (my review coming soon)

Clive went to his bookshelf and ran his fingers across the books that had brought him comfort during his life and he wasn’t surprised that they still brought him comfort.  He felt the dry leather that covered a book of his father’s and he knelt down to smell the musty pages.  Over the years, he had always kept his favorite books close to him.  He had a larger bookshelf in his bedroom, but the books he wanted close to him during his waking hours he kept there.

“I’m going to miss reading,” Clive said to Pachu.

“You mean you don’t plan to read in Heaven?”

“So there are books in Heaven?”

“Yeah, sure.  The best books ever written line the shelves of libraries that stretch for miles.”  Pachu looked off in an imaginary distance like he was surveying the shelves.  “The most dedicated librarians in history maintain and collect the great works.”  Pachu tapped the top of Clive’s bookshelf with his hand.  “Even books that were never published on Earth are there.  Beautiful stories that were written by authors who doubted that they had the talent to share their tales.  They gain confidence up there and finally share their writing.  Twain was good, I’ll admit, but I think you’ll be impressed with the talented authors you never heard of here.  You can meet them.  We often have readings.”

Clive never imagined books in Heaven.  But he had never thought much about Heaven.  People spoke of seeing your loved ones again and that sounded great, but the rest never appealed much to him.  Walking golden streets and singing in a giant choir was fine, but also boring after a while.  If there were books to read, and authors to hear, and concerts, what else was there?

Saturday, 16 April 2016

And The Winner Is ...


 Uh ... that's not what I meant.

 That's more like it!

 Went old school on this one - put all the entrants in a jar and drew a name.


Email me at and let me know which book you want (send a link if you have one) and where to send it.

Thanks for entering.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Deadly Dames - An Evening With Women Who Kill

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending “It’s a Crime”, a panel discussion hosted by my local library featuring five women who kill for a living.  Fictionally, that is ... five female authors all of whom write in the mystery/thriller/crime genre. 

These “Deadly Dames” led an informative and very lively discussion about what it means to be a female author in the world of crime fiction.  Their collective works range from cozy and historical mysteries through to a more humorous take on murder and include novels, short stories and “rapid reads” (novellas).  Needless to say, an impressive body of work spanning a wide range of reader interest and preferences.

The ladies of the panel …

One brave gentleman joined the otherwise completely female audience, which was a little smaller than anticipated, although I found this made the setting and the discussion seem more intimate – a chat rather than a presentation.

Obviously, the first question addressed was WHY? – Why do these women choose to write about murder and mayhem?  The unanimous answer … because its fun!  A few other good points were made as well; women are predominantly caretakers and often find themselves ruled by other people’s schedules – work, children, spouses and running a home.  Writing crime fiction is a satisfying way of taking back some control and guiding an untenable situation to a satisfying end.  Ms. Bolin, being the cozy mystery representative on the panel stated that she enjoys writing her books because the settings were “somewhere you would want to live – well – except for the murder”.  I get that!  Sadly for fans of her “cozies” the recent acquisition of her publisher by another major publishing house is going to result in slowly phasing out that sub-genre. 

That revelation led to further discussion about the publishing industry in general and for women authors in particular. These ladies, while successful, made it sound like a labor of love, especially in light of the fact that female crime authors fight an uphill battle as far as getting mainstream recognition.  One statistic discovered by “Sisters in Crime”, a support organization for female crime authors, revealed that while publication of the genre consists of an equal ratio of male to female authors the mainstream media (newspapers, magazines) tends to review the books with an 80:20 ratio in favor of male authors.  In the 1980’s there were virtually no mainstream reviews of female crime writers and it became one of the mandates of “Sisters in Crime” to increase exposure for female writers in the genre.  Despite those statistics it is interesting to note that research also shows that mystery/crime books appeal mostly to women and those female readers tend to be in the 40+ age range.  That makes perfect sense to me.  I fall into that demographic and think by that time in their lives most women either have a mental “hit list” where the fantasy appeals (kidding – sort of) or as Ms. Astolfo pointed out, we enjoy the challenge of “solving the puzzle”.  Trying to beat the detective to the solution always makes for a fun past time.  It was also mentioned that mysteries can be a safety zone; when there is enough uncertainty, upheaval and “scares” in real life it is nice to escape into a world where you know the “frightening things” will be resolved.

No discussion of writing and publishing would be complete without bringing e-books and Amazon into the mix.  While the ladies did admit to the fact that those two entities combined have “destroyed” book pricing and decreased their income by close to 50% they were not completely negative about either recent phenom.  Both Amazon and e-books allow them to obtain an international audience and fan base that might be unachievable with solely print books.  It sounded a bit like a love/hate relationship.  With reference to self-publishing Ms. Bruce made the best comparison … when the printing press was invented it changed publishing too.  The monks wouldn’t painstakingly write out any old book but as long as the printer was paid he would typeset anything.  While self-publishing produces a glut in the market eventually the wheat separates from the chaff.

But on to a few of the lighter moments.

Have you ever included someone you know in one of your books?

I won’t reveal details (to protect the innocent) but it was a resounding “YES” by 4 of the ladies on the panel and the lone hold out seemed very quiet on the subject.  Hmmm?

What are the favorite and least favorite aspects of being a writer?

Again, all the ladies were in total agreement that the favorite aspect of writing was the creative process; coming up with an idea, building the world for the story and that moment when something in your brain clicks and it all comes together.  Ms. Campbell referred to it as her “turret time” … like sitting in the top of a tower until the idea comes together.  The least favorite?  Unanimous also – Marketing, promotion and social media.  Ms. O’Callaghan also added “writer’s block, distractions and procrastination”.

Where do ideas come from and how do you keep track of your ideas?

Notes … notebooks … notes … notebooks everywhere … bedside notebooks!  Obviously keeping notes and jotting things down while they’re top of mind is important.  Also mentioned were laptops, voice recorders, napkins in restaurants and bars but the most original goes to Ms. Campbell who “was driving down the Gardiner Expressway during rush hour and jotted down an sudden idea using eye liner on a paper napkin”.

I had my own little notebook and was taking notes but, as happens, I would get caught up in the conversation so any paraphrasing or credit errors are my own fault.  Humblest of apologies if I messed something up.

And the ideas?  They can come from anywhere; a newspaper or magazine article, an overheard conversation or observing something at the grocery store.  Sometimes an idea or character can be gleamed from an offhand remark made by a family member.  At some time or another we all utter those words “I could kill you” and the writer just starts to wonder how that might be accomplished.

If you have read this far in this blog post then you must realize that I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  The ladies were gracious with their time, willing to share their knowledge and experience in a relaxed and very often humorous manner.

They followed the panel discussion with a reading from one of their books/stories.  There is something wonderful about hearing an author read their own words, especially when they are also good readers (sorry Mr. King, I love you, but …)

While I have to admit that I have not read any of the books by these lady crime writers I do plan to rectify that as I left with a mini book haul and a little swag in the form of bookmarks.  The ladies very kindly signed all the books.

All those attending were givien a “wanted poster” featuring a little blurb on each lady.  I don’t know who to credit with the design (Alison Bruce I think).  It was cute and I tried scanning it to include here but it didn’t scan very well on my ancient machine, so here is my pared-down version if you want to know more about each of these “Deadly Dames”.


Wanted for delving into the dark side of the human soul.  Do not be fooled by her pleasant demeanor and flowing prose.  Astolfo knows evil and writes about it.

Award-winning author of short stories, novels, novellas, and screenplays.


Specialty killer favoring weapons of mass crafting.  Bolin’s crimes involve needlework of all kinds, quirky characters and deadly puns.

Janet Bolin writes the Threadville Mystery Series – machine embroidery, murder, and mayhem in a village of sewing, quilting, yarn, and other crafty shops.  Threadville Mysteries have been nominated for Agatha and Bony Blithe Awards.


Known for consorting with law officers.  While working undercover as a crossing guard, Bruce plans murder, mayhem and the occasional horse chase.

Author of mystery, romantic suspense and historical western romance novels.  Three of Alison’s novels have been finalists for genre awards.


Mistress of the comic caper and able to leap small curbs in stiletto heels, Campbell is known for stealing art, shoes and numerous awards.

The Toronto Sun called her Canada’s “Queen of Comedy”.  Melodie Campbell has won The Derringer, The Arthur Ellis, and eight other awards for crime fiction.


O’Callaghan has managed to maintain a low profile by authoring perfectly innocent nonfiction books as a cover for her nefarious crime sprees in short fiction.

Joan has had an active career in freelance writing, with over 30 educational publications to her credit.  Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online magazines.  In 2014, her flash fiction story, “Torch Song for Two Voices” won the Polar Expressions Publishing contest.