Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Write something for my blog she says to me. Me, who’s first look at a blog was last week after receiving numerous emails telling me to check out the mystery maven blog site. I’m glad I did because Mary Jane Maffini had written a beautiful tribute to Audrey Jessup.

I’m not writing at the moment I tell her, thinking that’ll let me off the hook. But no, back she comes with ‘then write about not writing’.

Why am I not writing? In the beginning because I needed to find the house beneath the mass of paper cluttering every surface. And I started well, clearing off my desk, which seemed enormous afterwards, a great expanse of empty space with a computer sitting, waiting.

Then I tackled the next area and the only place to put anything was that lovely empty space…where was Charlotte Adams, the declutterer (one of Mary Jane’s protagonists) when I needed her?

Abandoning flat surfaces, I turned to the books. How can one throw a book out without re-reading it? I’ve now re-read Ngiao Marsh, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy Sayers and Martha Grimes and, being a person of little memory, the endings were always a surprise.

I might give away the Martha Grimes as her characters don’t appear to move on in their relationships, the others are back on the shelves.

And since I love these authors I have, of course, fallen under the spell of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache. I’ve just bought her latest, Bury your Dead, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Hope it doesn’t have such a sad ending as the last one.

Barbara Fradkin’s recent book, Beautiful Lie the Dead, didn’t disappoint. There are so many layers to unravel in Barbara’s books and I’m a big fan of Inspector Green who comes across as a very real person, warts and all.

Our local paper had an article on Nadine Doolittle in December and I was thrilled for her when I read that she’d signed a contract with McArthur and Company for her first novel Iced Under and another, Grey Lady. They are due out in paperback this fall. Iced Under is an amazing first novel, nothing amateur about it.

What is it about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series that captured the worlds imagination? For me it’s the almost magical powers Lisbeth Salander has with the computer and her marshal arts. The books reminded me of the Harry Potter series, small fry fighting huge evil and winning.

Continuing with Swedish writers I recently read a Henkel Manning that wasn’t in the Kurt Wallender series, The Return of the Dancing Master. It’s a ‘hold your breath’ read.

So, do you think that in Sweden the readers are enraptured with Canadian mysteries? If not, why? We have many fabulous mystery writers covering all the different genres writing just as well as any author in any country yet search the shelves in W.H. Smith in UK and you’d be hard pressed to find a Canadian mystery there.

Short stories fascinate me but the December issues of Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock I found disappointing and have you noticed that they never mention Canadian books in their reviews. When they have people on the CBC recommending books for Christmas, or summer vacations, I’m willing them to mention some of our mystery books, it happens, but only occasionally.

At the moment I’m trying to work out what makes a good short story. I’m working my way through the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction and often find myself puzzled as to why a particular story was thought good enough to be included. Some are fantastic and I’ve just become a fan of Flannery O’Connor, (died in 1964). I would love to be able to paint pictures of my characters in as masterful way as she does not to mention the dialogue…hope some of it rubs off on me.

Liz Palmer has written numerous short stories, seven of which have been published, one even being short listed for an Arthur Ellis award. She hangs out in the Gatineau Hills when not kayaking at the cabin or camping in France.


  1. What a delight to see Liz Palmer writing again! Even if it is this blog post. Less, reading, more writing,Liz! Please,

  2. Oh Liz! What a treat to have you here, blogging away. You make some excellent points. To the barricades for Canadian authors!