Monday, June 25, 2012


Give us a break!

Every time I think about giving up blogging, I find my blood pressure brought to the boiling point by some news item or comment. On Sunday, it was the huge article entitled, 'Hot days, hotter fiction' in the Ottawa Citizen, which I'm sure appeared in most Postmedia newspapers. It was "compiled from Citizen News Services". Code for, let's ignore Canadians!

My point...not one of the books or authors mentioned, no, heralded in our most widely-read local paper...was Canadian. There are some stellar names there...many of whom I read and thoroughly enjoy. That's not the point. The point is, we have tons of excellent Canadian mystery authors. Many of them have new books out that certainly qualify as "hotter fiction", yet none are mentioned.

Our media giants have got to do better than this!!

Just as Sisters in Crime began as an organization in the U.S. decades ago to promote equality on the reviewer's pages for female mystery authors (the proportion of male authors being reviewed greatly eclipsed the females at that time), maybe it's time for a "Canadians in Crime" equivalent. We do have Crime Writers of Canada, which is an excellent organization and works hard at promoting Canadian crime writing. But perhaps we need more! A grassroots group of mystery lovers including readers, who are also getting short shrift as it stands.

Maybe we don't need yet another organization. Maybe we need a CRTC to regulate Canadian content on the books pages! It worked for radio. I honestly don't know how we go about rattling the chains of the print media to give us a break. I've written similar blogs several times over the years. I know several authors who have written letters to the editors, etc. Our voices are too small.

Maybe it's the readers who need to get more vocal...that is, if you care about Canadian crime writing. And you should. Besides being a group of excellent writers, they tell our story, in most cases. And, there is a difference between what you read between the covers of a mystery penned by a Brit, an American, and a Canadian. There should be. It doesn't mean any nationality is better at it. Some readers prefer authors from certain countries. Others just prefer a variety of books. It's all good.

The thing is, if you don't know what's out there, how can you choose to read it? Giving Canadians a piece of the reviewing pie, or in this case, the summer reading list, is the first step. Why can't they take it?

I know the decision these days is basically out of the hands of the Books editors in each of the newspapers. These stalwarts have traditionally been very supportive. But times have changed.

Have you Postmedia editors heard of Gail Bowen, Peter Robinson, John Lawrence Reynolds, Deryn Collier, R.J. Harlick, C.B. Forrest, Pam Callow, Janet Bolin, D.J. McIntosh, Dave Hugelschaffer, David Russell .... the list goes on of new books in print from Canadian mystery authors. If not, I'm sure we could arrange to have some copies sent to you! But then, you'd have to read them. Lucky you!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012


  1. Here, here! I'm sure this article, like the Christmas lists and the spring lists, was just lifted from the wire services. Or from the big publishers' release list. I agree, a Canadian content regulation is a wonderful idea. But we need someone who has the passion, money and influence to push it.

  2. Well, there's Shelagh Rogers' radio program this afternoon (The Next Chapter), which is all about summer reading recommendations in the crime-writing genre. Given the nature of the show's mandate, here's hoping there will be a number of Canadian selections on the list.