By OLINE H. COGDILL
Vacations take us to myriad places, and when in other areas, I like to celebrate mystery writers who show us their homes with an insiders’ knowledge.
This summer will find us in Canada—again. This time to the Stratford Festival that specializes in Shakespeare.
So here is a quick primer on Canadian mystery writers. I know I have forgotten several, so please feel free to let us know who we have missed.
And in no particular order:
Louise Penny: Penny probably is the most well-known to American readers with her novels about the small, idyllic-sounding village of Three Pines in the province of Quebec. This fictional village, set just north of the Vermont border, a little east of Montreal, is home to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec.
Peter Robinson: Robinson also is one of the better known Canadian authors with a strong American reader base. Although he lives in Toronto, Robinson writes about Ian Banks, a police detective in Yorkshire, England. One of my all-time favorites
Howard Engel: Author of the award winning Benny Cooperman detective series, Engel is the Crime Writers of Canada’s first Grand Master. In its announcement, the group stated “A mainstay of the Canadian crime writing scene for many years, Mr. Engel helped put Canadian crime writing on the map at a time when few mysteries were set in this country.”
Linwood Barclay: This Canadian author mainly writes about American families under siege—he nails the American scenery so well. One of my favorites.
Rick Mofina: Another Canadian author who writes so well about America. Like Barclay, Mofina also is a former journalist, and a personal favorite.
Barbara Fradkin: Her psychological detective novels have been nominated four times for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from Crime Writers of Canada, and have won the award twice.
John Farrow/Trevor Ferguson: Under his real name as Trevor Ferguson, this author has written nine novels and four plays. The Toronto Star named him Canada’s best novelist. Now using the pen name John Farrow, he has written three crime novels featuring Émile Cinq-Mars that are simply excellent. John Farrow/Trevor Ferguson was raised in Montreal and lives in Hudson, Quebec.
Giles Blunt: Best known as the author of the John Cardinal novels set in Algonquin Bay. The first Cardinal novel, Forty Words for Sorrow, won the British Crime Writers Silver Dagger award, and the second, The Delicate Storm, won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis award for best novel, as did the latest, Until the Night. He has been twice longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC award.
Maureen Jennings: Best known for her historical novels about Detective William Murdoch set during the late 1800s in Toronto.