Saturday, August 3, 2013


By Janice MacDonald
Ravenstone (imprint of Turnstone Press)

One of the things I like best about Janice MacDonald’s Randy Craig mystery series (besides the fact that she’s a darned good writer) is how much the series is about Edmonton.

In this fifth book, she doesn’t disappoint as the historic Rutherford House is the setting for what starts out as an Evening of Illusion, a special event put on by the Friends of Rutherford House as a fundraiser, and ends up as murder. It’s not as if Randy Craig goes looking for dead bodies but it happens and this time her contract job helping to create a virtual website to celebrate the 100th birthday of the House brings her into the killer’s trajectory. From there, the chase is on and Randy’s own home suffers some consequences. But that won’t stop her quest and while doing research for the website, Randy also finds clues that lead to the murderer.

There really is a Rutherford House, adjacent to the grounds of the University of Alberta. Try googling it and get further immersed in its history and sights. However, MacDonald provides enough background, starting the original owner of the house, Alexander Rutherford, who founded the university and was at one time, a premier. She takes us on a tour of the house, being preserved and restored by the Friends, providing a cultural history for those of us who might not be able to visit any time soon. MacDonald excels at interweaving these aspects along with a good puzzler.

We also get to travel to the provincial Archives, to Fort Edmonton and of course, stroll (sometimes sprint) through the university campus.

This is truly a Canadian mystery and as I’ve noted elsewhere, Janice MacDonald should be given an award from Alberta Tourism. It’s also a riveting tale that will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers.

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