What happens when you gather eight of Canada's most exciting authors of crime and detective fiction to take the pulse of Canadian crime fiction today? Among the discussion topics: Is CanCrime a genre and how do we define it? What writers served as literary inspirations? How is one affected by writing about violence and brutality? And so much more, including the authors' answers to the essential question: What books are you excited about right now? Our participants' enthusiasm for books and literature is palpable and will no doubt spread like, well, a crime wave.
49th Shelf: In 2014, we talked to critic Sarah Weinman about the possibility of “CanCrime,”—the notion that Canadian crime fiction might be a genre unto itself. Sarah had theories on the subject, but she hadn’t developed them entirely. What are your thoughts?
Hilary Davidson: That’s such a tough thing to quantify, and my answer is going to be based on—and biased by!—the authors I’ve read (there are many I haven’t read yet). But to me, CanCrime explores grey areas. It’s not about easily identifiable villains and heroes; there’s more shading and nuance. There’s a lot of thought given to the psychological life of all the characters. I know Sarah mentioned empathy, and I think that …
Hilary Davidson's new novel, Blood Always Tells, is a gripping read that's packed with twists and turns, and the only thing you can predict about its stunning conclusion is that it will probably take your breath away. Blood Always Tells is Davidson's first stand-alone novel, after her successful Lily Moore trilogy, and in this guest-post she explains the complicated allure for an author of the one-book stand.
Crime-fiction fans around the world revere Sherlock Holmes, but when I think of his creator, I feel pangs of sympathy. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came to detest his famous detective so much that he decided to kill Holmes off. This was in spite of the commercial success of the novels and short stories featuring the character; as Conan Doyle put it, in his autobiography, he was determined to do the deed, “even if I buried my bank account with him.”
Conan Doyle knocked off Holmes in a story called “The Final Problem.” His legions of readers were outraged. “I hold that it was not murder, but justifiable homicide in self-defense, since, if I had not killed him, he would certainly have killed me,” Conan Doyle said. But the outcry was so overwhelming that the author was eventually forced to resurrect Holmes and go on writing about him until the end of h …