Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Oh, Heather...not again!

Yesterday I re-tweeted this tweet by Elizabeth Duncan: "Five of six #heatherspicks @chaptersindigo for Xmas are American writers. Would be great if #heatherReisman supported Canadian authors.

I did it because I totally agree with what Elizabeth tweeted but I should have sent a follow-up tweet. I had to hurry out the door instead, not wanting to be late for my book club. So, I'll say it here. The reason it would be great, and sensible, is that Canadian mystery writers are top notch. As good as the American writers Heather seems to favour.

That's not to say she shouldn't give credit where it's due and extol the praises of our colleagues to the south. It's saying, pay attention to the Canadians, too. I wonder if she even reads many of the Canadian mystery writers? If she did, I'm positive more of their names would appear on her many lists over the year.

But that brings to mind another thought -- perhaps she doesn't enjoy mysteries. There's nothing that says Ms. Reisman should force herself to read a genre she doesn't enjoy. But where does that leave the lowly mystery writer when one of the most powerful retailers of the printed (and electronic) word doesn't choose a mystery in her top picks?

Avid mystery (and I use this term to encompass all crime writing) readers know about the genre and don't need convincing. But how is the readership supposed to expand? When non-mystery readers aren't exposed to recommendations from those with influence, how can they know what good writing they're missing out on?

Add to that the fact that Canadian mystery writers are already fighting a double battle. That may be a bit dramatic -- how about, up against double the odds? There's that old genre thing -- you know, where mysteries lose out to mainstream titles in many instances because they're, well, mysteries. Not because the writing is any worse. Not because mystery writers can't plot, write dialogue or conjure wonderful settings. They're not even, in many instances, given a chance because they're -- you know, mysteries. They won't even be read.

And then there's the Canadian thing. The list of great Canadian mystery authors would go on for many blogs but I don't dare start mentioning names. I'd hate to miss anyone out. But you know who they are. We read their books every day. Because we know about them. We know what great reads they provide.

So it's up to the readers to spread the word because that's the way it will get around. And maybe, just maybe, it may reach Heather. And maybe, just maybe, she might start promoting Canadian crime writers, too.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April 3, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime

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