Thursday, April 5, 2012


Honouring one of our own.

Today on Ladies’ Killing Circle Thursday, I want to celebrate the Mystery Maven herself. This is a very special week for her.

For nearly twenty-five years, Linda has worked tirelessly on behalf of Canadian mystery writers and readers. She started off by founding a local writers’ group called Capital Crime Writers at a time when there were almost no groups dedicated to this craft. It began with half a dozen members and over the years grew to about eighty, becoming the most productive writers’ group in the city, possibly the country. It is responsible for Ottawa’s huge success as a hotbed of crime (writing, I mean), launching the careers of about twenty published writers. Linda was its first president. In short order she also gathered together the critiquing group that became the Ladies’ Killing Circle, editors of seven successful short story anthologies.

Her love of mysteries, and her understanding of the hurdles faced by new authors and particularly Canadian authors, also led her to buy Prime Crime Mystery Bookstore along with friend and fellow Ladies’ Killing Circle author Mary Jane Maffini. Over the years, Linda welcomed numerous authors for signings in her store, found homes for their books and celebrated their launches. When Mary Jane’s writing demands became too arduous, Linda continued alone, one of only a half-dozen bookstores dedicated to crime in the entire country.

In the twenty years since we began, we LKCers have all had success with our short stories. We have sold stories elsewhere and received numerous Arthur Ellis Best Short Story nominations and awards (including Linda). We have also gone on to success in other writing ventures, three of us as novelists, Vicki Cameron as a YA writer both here and overseas, and Sue Pike as a publisher/ editor of her own anthology, as well as a premiere short story writer. Linda hosted all our launches and supported us throughout, while her own writing aspirations had to take a back seat.

But no more. After ten years of coping with economic crashes, the rise of big box stores and road construction on the store’s street, Linda decided it was time to let her own dreams take flight. She worked hard on a proposal, landed a three-book publishing contract with Berkeley, and began to write the first in her Ashton Corners Book Club series set in Alabama and written under the pen name Erika Chase. As every author knows, it’s a looo-ooong process from first draft to book-on-the-shelf, but that day finally arrived this week. Linda’s debut novel, A Killer Read, was released this week, and will be officially launched at the Library and Archives Canada on April 19.

Even as she worked on her own writing, Linda didn’t abandon her crime writing and reading friends. To replace Prime Crime Bookstore, she launched Mystery Maven Canada, which has quickly become one of the top blogs of, for and about Canadian crime fiction.

But enough of self-sacrifice, Linda. This is your week, and I know that the rest of us LKCers and indeed all your friends in the writing community are thrilled for you. A Killer Read is a fabulous read. Come hell or high water, we will all be there on April 19 to celebrate with you. Congratulations, Linda!

Barbara Fradkin is a child psychologist with a fascination for how we turn bad. In addition to her darkly haunting short stories in the Ladies Killing Circle anthologies, she writes the gritty, Ottawa-based Inspector Green novels which havewon back to back Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Novel from Crime Writers of Canada. The eighth in the series, Beautiful Lie the Dead, explores love in all its complications. And, her new Rapid Read from Orca, The Fall Guy, was launched last May.


  1. Well said Barbara.
    Linda is and has been a 'quiet' force to be reckoned with in the world of mystery and we appreciate her work and support over the last twenty plus years. April 19th will be a day to celebrate her first book and her contribution to the mystery community.

  2. Congratulations indeed, Linda. You seem to have taken the step from bookstore owner to series author very easily. I'll be on blog-oliday with you and I'll be at the launch on April 19. Wouldn't miss it.

  3. Adding my congratulations. Linda is both a terrific writer and a great friend to writers.

    D.J. McIntosh