Sunday, 15 November 2015

Issue 2: November 2015

Don read his first mystery, the Sign of Four, when he was seven, and struggled to accept that Sherlock Holmes was not real until he was ten. He still harbours suspicions that the pipe smoking sleuth still walks the streets of London.


The mystery corner at The Different Drummer is the place to find the mystery that goes beyond the pot boiler today…gone tomorrow. These shelves are like that special closet we all read about as kids. It’s where you find the best in Canadian, British, European and American authors, the ones you read, let settle in your treasure bank and return to. It’s the books your friends borrow and you remember to retrieve. Authors with leading-edge plotting, dialogue that feels like a conversation you’re in the midst of and setting that places you into the action.  The Mystery Corner at the Different Drummer: fine, fictional story telling in the mystery genre.

Don will be haunting our shelves to read and review a selection of mystery he hopes you will enjoy. He reviewed for the Hamilton Spectator for eight years, continues with freelance reviewing for Canadian and foreign publishers. In 2012 he won the coveted Derrick Murdoch award from the Crime Writers of Canada for his contribution to Canadian mystery writing. You may also see his landscapes on our walls as he organizes the Different Drummer’s local artists on our wall initiatives. His work can be found at You can reach Don at

By Quintin Jardin
Trade Paperback $22.99
eBook $6.99

Author, Quinton Jardine, Scotland’s gift to the best in mystery writing has branched out from his awarding Bob Skinner and Oz Blackstone series into the rapidly growing sub-genre of the history mystery. Storytelling with mystery at its heart, before the days of forensic delights. And Mathew’s Tale is one of the finest stories in this genre that I’ve read in some time.

1818, Carluke, Lanarkshire, a young, battle scared veteran of the Battle of Waterloo returns to his county, physically damaged, emotionally wounded and matured beyond his twenty plus years.

Author, Jardine’s tale is  a tough, but delicate rendering of the Scottish landscape at the cusp of the industrial age of the steam engine, the new risks and opportunities for the young choking against a new Lord’s abusive rule.

Jardine’s palette is colourful: power, deceit, passion, manners that disguise the pain beneath and justice perverted and justice prevailed. Mathew’s Tale is story telling at its raw and compassionate best. The writing gets into the very fabric of a society being dragged into a destiny of change. Mathew’s Tale is an award winner.

By Charles Finch
Minatour Books.
Hardcover $29.99

London, 1876, and proof that Sherlock Holmes no longer enjoys a monopoly on private detection in the glorious, deceitful, grubby and high risk city of Victorian London.

Charles Lenox, upper class, newly wed, newly retired member of Parliament has returned to his first love…detection, this time as a partner in a private agency.

The love, hate relationship with Scotland Yard is alive and well as the Yard seeks out the ‘under the table’ help from Lenox. A Yard Inspector is found dead in Regent Park. The clues unfold in a cornucopia of Sherlockian gold:  An old wound, an untraced boat, a mysterious convent in a row of gilded town homes, one of which is occupied by an aristocrat who remains one step ahead of the law.

The writing is sharp and compassionate and stirs memories of Anthony Trollope and Dickens…you are there in the parlours, back streets and shipping yards of London. Atmosphere, clues and climax mix with life behind the velvet sitting room curtains keeps you turning the pages. A long and successful series that sets the standard.

By; Jill Downie

Blood Will Out is the third and the best so far in this series Featuring Moretti and Falla in the Channel Islands. Author, Jill Downie, writes with poise, setting a puzzle worth reading featuring characters that come off the page with a wide range of intent and deceit. The setting sparkles with detail: the characters move with ease. Surrounding this award winning writing is sharp and insightful dialogue.

D.I. Ed Moretti and his partner Kiz Falla investigate a suicide. But is it as simple as that or is it an outbreak of vampirism perhaps fueled by a local playwright who is writing a play about vampires. Will the murderer attack again? Why and when? The answers take skilled detection, s revealed by author, Downie, who weaves us through a complex network of truth and lies.

Blood Will Out is a satisfying read that teases one to check out Daggers and Men’s Smiles and A Grave Waiting, the first two in the Moretti and Falla series. Makes you wish for the fourth. Downie is a strong example of why Canadian mystery writing takes a back seat to no one.

By: Jake Doherty
Carrick Publishing
Trade Paperback $14.95
eBook $4.99

Bearwalker Alibi is a story crafted to grab and hold your interest and compassion on a variety of levels. Author, Jake Doherty, a reporter, editor and publisher has found that the ink still pulses with a fierce intensity with this startling new novel. If the jury values a good story, then Bearwalker Alibi will find its way into an awards circle.

Investigating the powerfully real dynamic between “white-man’s law” and “the driving cultural spirit that guides First Nation’s justice”, author, Doherty tells a profoundly moving story about the dramatic clashes over the systemic abuse of First Nations children, its lifelong pain, the ravages of PTSD and the terrifying veil of evil of lurks within the Bearwalker’s curse.

While fictional, Bearwalker Alibi illustrates the gulf between punishment and redemptive healing and the dark corners where PTSD thrives.  Scenes that grip and don’t let go, forceful dialogue and an ending that makes me hope that the journey of Dr. Mary Fraser and Fergus Fitzgerald has just begun.

By Melodie Campbell and Cynthia St-Pierre.
Imajin Books
Trade Paperback $19.74
eBook $4.99

Small town, Toronto connections, gorgeous women, wall safes full of real jewelry worth killing for, and house gutted by fire and a body.  Two female, amateur detectives with two authors who know how to plot, feed clues, create atmosphere, offer spicy and spiky dialogue and you have A Killer Necklace, a first rate mystery tale with laughter that could kill you. A Killer Necklace is already on the Amazon Best Sellers list. Guess who wore the jewellery.

The quaint town is Black Currant. Gina, a trendy, outspoken, action destined, TV weather reporter arrives, ready to prepare for her wedding with the support of local Becki. They plan a visit to check out the shower location, a gingerbread, elegant old home in the core of Black Currant. Instead they find a body at the bottom of the cellar stairs. Now, there are men in the novel. Gina’s about to be new husband has a secret life in the Canadian secret services that he’d rather no one knew about. Becki’s husband is the local cop with brains.

It’s the edgy story telling that pulls you in. The pacing is sharp, quick and very funny, a good combination for a mystery that is hard to put down. But the special ingredient is an ending I sure didn’t see coming. It’s an interesting twist on when is justice done and anymore, and I’d be a plot spoiler. Gina and Becki and Campbell and St-Pierre make a pretty good team.

From the Files

By Rob Brunet
Down & Out Books, 2014
Trade Paperback $20.69
eBook $5.66

Stinking Rich, a debut novel by Toronto author, Rob Brunet has more twists and turns than a mad dash to an outhouse in the pitch black night. And when that yester-year’s facility blows up, you know you’re in for a fast and deviously funny summer read. The Kiwarthas will never be the same again.

A young, less than successful, small time crook figures he’s hit it big when he lands a job tending a pot farm for a backwoods biker gang whose members are full bellied, short of temper, eager to fight battles with pre-determined results. What happens next is a summer chase with adroit dialogue, caustic descriptions and a plot that keeps you reading.

What makes Stinking Rich stand out from the usual escape is the skilful pacing that force a growing crew of misfits into deeper waters, hair-raising schemes and a climax where each convoluted strand falls into its satisfying space. And did I mention that in the heat of a pot moment the wise words of Iggy the iguana turn out alarmingly astute.

Stinking Rich, fun summer read with a touch of sarcasm and hint of truth. Hope there’s another one.

These reviews may be used for promotion at the discretion of the author.
For information about sending a book for review, contact Don at:

No comments:

Post a Comment