Friday, November 12, 2010


There's something about foreign locales....

I classify myself as basically an armchair traveler. I used to have a lot of those shopping at Prime Crime, looking for an exciting, foreign setting (one which it was unlikely they'd visit, at least not in the near future), and oh, yes...with a riveting mystery involved.

Canada has never had that classification. Although, I sold many Canadian authored books to readers who wanted a bit of Canada on their bookshelves, it wasn't an overwhelming amount of business. And, we all know what U.S. publishers think about books set in Canada!

But there is good news on the foreign front. Dorothy McIntosh shared her great news this week that the rights to The Witch of Babylon were bought in China. Well done, Dorothy! She adds her name to a select group of Canadian mystery authors, among them Gail Bowen and Mary Jane Maffini, who have done the same. And then, Peggy Blair announced that the rights to her novel, The Beggar's Opera had been sold to Norway. And that's before it's even published in English. Amazing. And we won't even start listing Peter Robinson's foreign rights sales.

Canadian mystery and crime writers are making their marks around the world and helping to put Canada on the armchair travelers' map. Of course, we do have some intrepid authors who take their sleuths overseas to exotic locales. Like Anthony Bidulka's globe-trotting Saskatchewan PI, Russel Quant. I recently toured Dubai with him.

William Deverell and Karen Dudley have sent their sleuths to Costa Rica (great reads on a cold winter's day) And of course, the late wonderful Lyn Hamilton had her Toronto antique dealer, Lara McClintock in a different country for each archeological outing. And not so long ago, John Spencer Hill, also deceased, set his police procedurals in Italy. Which was also the setting for one of Mary Jane Maffini's Camilla McPhee novels.

We do love our armchair travels, which probably accounts for the popularity of Steig Larsson and Henning Mankell's Swedish series, of Matt Beynon Rees and his series set in Palestine, of Andrea Camilleri's Sicilian police Inspector, of Colin Cotterill and his witty coroner in Laos, Donna Leon's in Italy and Barbara Nadel in Turkey. The list goes on and on.

So, armchair reading aside, now that we're reading the foreigners and they are reading us, we need to ramp up our support of Canadian mystery writers and spread the word that made in Canada is good reading!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

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