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Crime Fiction Virtual Round-Table

Book Cover A Language of Secrets

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. 

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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 …

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Janice MacDonald Goes Back to School in Fiction

Book Cover Another Margaret

The latest title in Janice MacDonald's Randy Craig Mystery Series is Another Margaret, in which Randy Craig, MacDonald's peripatetic academic sleuth, helps her best friend organize their 20-year reunion at the University of Alberta. Not suffering any of the typical reunion anxieties, however, Randy is more concerned with resolving a 20 year old CanLit scandal and catching a ruthless killer. Her tumultuous past as a graduate student comes rushing into the present as she faces off against old ghosts and imminent death.

In this guest post, MacDonald explores the appeal of the campus novel, and provocatively asserts that academic mysteries are superior to their mainstream literary counterparts every time

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Although we may have worked our way through several thick, trashy beach reads and even tackled one of those bucket list denizens like Proust or Tolstoy while slathering on the sunscreen, we perpetual students, we bookish types, revel in the fall. Autumn days, crisp and clear, bring to many the timeless desire to buy knee socks, punched hole reinforcements and a new Thermos. It also brings to mind booklists and, for those of us no longer attending institutes of higher learning, campus or academic novels.

As the writer of the Randy Craig Mysteries, a series set in …

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