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Launchpad: The War Widow, by Tara Moss

Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching The War Widow, by Tara Moss, described as "Retro noir with a gutsy heroine and atmospheric setting...vivid, page-turning historical crime."

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The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

The war may be officially over, but stylish private investigator and former war reporter Billie Walker is plunged right back into the danger she thought she’d left behind in Europe, in this thrilling tale set in glamorous 1940s Sydney.

Describe your ideal reader.

Anyone who loves a good …

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Launchpad: Closing Time, by Brenda Chapman

Book Cover Launchpad Logo

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching Closing Time, by Brenda Chapman, which Barbara Fradkin calls "Complex and filled with menace... [this] tale of sex, lies, and betrayal will keep you up at night."

*****

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence:

Closing Time is the seventh and last in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series in which Officer Kala Stonechild reluctantly assists with the murder investigation of a high school student while on holiday with her foster niece Dawn in the wilderness no …

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Launchpad: A Match Made for Murder, by Iona Whishaw

Launchpad

This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today's we're launching A Match Made in Murder, by Iona Whishaw, the latest instalment in the Lane Winslow Mystery series, which Toronto's Sleuth of Baker Street Bookstore (they know mysteries!) calls "Full of history, mystery, and a glorious BC setting . . . a wonderful series."

*****

Book Cover A Match Made for Murder

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Hoping for a peaceful honeymoon in Tucson, Lane and Inspector Darling get no time for sun and cocktails, and instead find themselves embroiled in an unrestful schedule o …

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Ann Lambert: Watershed Books

The Birds That Stay is Ann Lambert's first novel, a murder mystery set in a small village in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. And Lambert brings to her first book more than two decades of experience as a theatre direction, playwright, and English teacher, all of which inform her novel, and in this recommended reading list she shares works that have similarly served as a foundation for her, both as a reader and as a writer.

Although narrowing the list down wasn't easy...

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How do I isolate ten books to recommend from the range and depth of Canadian literature? How do I not include Barometer Rising, The Tin Flute, The Wars, Le Matou, Unless, A Complicated Kindness, A Fine Balance, The Life of Pi, The Book of Negroes, Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Tiger, The Break and so many other terrific books? I decided to select books by Canadian writers whose work prompted a watershed moment for me, over a lifetime of reading.

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The Diviners, by Margaret Laurence 

This was the complete novel for me. It told the story of a woman, Morag Gunn, who migrated fr …

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R.J. Harlick: More Than "Good Enough"

Purple Palette for Murder is the latest title in R.J. Harlick's Meg Harris Mystery series, a perfect title to cozy up with as the weather turns cool. In this guest post, Harlick writes about why she chooses to set her books in Canada and recommends some of her favourite writers who do the same. 

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I grew up reading anything but Canadian books. The majority of novels I studied at my Toronto high school were British and American. I can only remember one Canadian novel, Hugh MacLennan’s Two Solitudes. Basically, my school training taught me that Canadian literature wasn’t good enough. When it came to reading for pleasure I focused only on those novels from afar, including "The Greats" by British, American and Russian authors. Popular fiction was either American or British. I studiously avoided the Canadian book sections in bookstores.

It wasn’t until I attended the Humber School for Writers’ summer workshop that I finally discovered that Canadian writing was indeed worth reading. Meeting real live Canadian authors, in particular my workshop leader, Nino Ricci, enticed me to spend a few of my hard-earned dollars on their books. And lo and behold, I discovered they were just as good as any books by foreign authors. I discovered I enjoyed reading about places …

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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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Get Gripped: Mystery, Thriller and Crime Novels to Read This Spring

These are the kind of books they had to make up the word "unputdownable" for. 

*****

Far From True, by Linwood Barclay

About the book: After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a break-in at her father's house. Cal discovers a hidden room where salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But it may not be the discs the thief was interested in.

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. But where they lead may be more horrific than either man can imagine.

Why we're taking notice: This is the second title in the bestselling Barclay's Promise Falls trilogy. Readers will want to know what happens next. 

** 

What's Left Behind, by Gail Bowen

About the book: The latest novel …

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Ten Mystery Books to Read This Spring

There are fine distinctions, so say the genre purists, between crime fiction, detective fiction, mysteries, and thrillers, and here we go lumping them all in together, but on another level, books are just books, and is there any novel that doesn't have an element of mystery at its core? So forgive us, is what I mean, as we suggest the must-have titles to reading this spring (which is rapidly moving toward summer, when mystery novels somehow seem most vital).

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The Corpse With the Sapphire Eyes, by Cathy Ace

About the book: It's Cait and Bud's wedding weekend and for the first time she feels like a bride—or at least, she's supposed to. But then the rain won't quit, the supposedly romantic Welsh castle feels creepy, and there's a dead body on the stairs. 

What first appears to have been the untimely, unfortunate, and accidental death of their wedding choirmaster quickly reveals itself to have been a murder. And when a series of mysterious events occur around the castle, Cait, Bud, and Cait's sister Sian tackle the case of The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes, attempting to solve the mystery before another sinister event can ruin their destination wedding. 

Why we're taking notice: Cathy Ace writes, "They say 'write what you know,' so a short, plus-sized Welsh woman, …

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An Excerpt from Stranglehold, Robert Rotenberg's Latest

Book Cover Stranglehold

About the book: Bestselling author Robert Rotenberg is back with Stranglehold, his most shocking book yet, featuring Detective Ari Greene in the fight of his life. It’s just after Labour Day and the city is kicking back into gear. All eyes are on the hotly contested election for Toronto’s next mayor and crime is the big issue. Greene is no stranger to the worst of what the city has to offer, but even he is unprepared for what happens next when he stumbles upon a horrific homicide...

What a boring Monday , Awotwe Amankwah, courtroom reporter for the Toronto Star, thought as he flipped through the trial list on the centre hall desk at the 361 University Avenue Courthouse. For the last two months there’d been nothing decent to write about thanks to the court’s annual summer break –when all the well-heeled judges were up north at their family cottages. He could barely remember the last time his byline had appeared on the front page. And now the film festival was monopolizing half the ink in the paper with paparazzi crap.

The Star’s new editor, Barclay Church, a British transplant who lived for stories filled with sex and scandal, would have no interest in the handful of run-of-the mill crimes on this court docket: a stabbing; two shootings; a dead body foun …

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