Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The masters of crime....

April is also the release month for another Canadian mystery author, one far better known than Erika Chase, whose contribution to the Canadian crime writing scene is immense.

Gail Bowen's 13th novel in the Joanne Kilbourn series, Kaleidoscope, will be released later this month. That's an amazing feat from the viewpoint of someone just starting to populate the shelves.

Gail's first book, Deadly Appearances appeared in 1990 and I was hooked. I loved the Joanne Kilbourn character, the recent widow of a political aide, who becomes enmeshed in the murder of a politician they both knew. She was a clever, warm, convincing person, mother of two, and if I recall correctly, teaching part-time at the university. My apologies, Gail if I've gotten the teaching part wrong. I obviously need to go back and start at the beginning again. I'd enjoy that!

In subsequent novels, Joanne Kilbourn has grown on all fronts -- as a mother, teacher, lover and once again, married but always, a sleuth who is passionate about helping her friends and writing wrongs. That sounds trite but Joanne has a strong sense of morality and integrity, both propelling her to search for the truth.

The novels have grown in depth and breadth, all to the benefit of the Canadian mystery writing scene, emerging authors, and the ever-demanding readers.

We owe Gail Bowen an enormous amount of respect. Just as we also owe Peter Robinson, William Deverell, and those giants of crime writing, Eric Wright, Howard Engel, L.R. Wright, Laurence Gough and Medora Sale. Those were the authors who led the charge to making the crime and mystery writing genre a relevant piece of the cultural landscape in this country. Of course, there were others and I should go on but I know I'll always leave out a name of importance.

Perhaps you can help me? Who would you add to this list? And, I'm thinking, authors who started their careers in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read
Berkley Prime Crime

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