Top 10: Super-Sleuths for Mystery Week

It’s officially Mystery Series Week, and this edition of Top 10 is all about saluting the super sleuths among our mystery collection: read on to learn more about 10 gumshoes with gumption.


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Here’s our top ten picks for super sleuths and their series (say that 10 times fast):

10. A purr-fect crimesolver.

Louise Carson’s Maples Mystery series, about artist and amateur detective Gerry Coneybear and her 20 cats are purrfectly cozy, and set in and around the Ottawa River. In her latest, A Clutter of Cats (Signature Editions), is a scorned wife too obvious a suspect for the murder of her cheating husband? And, will making enough jam solve the case? (We guess no.)


9. The reluctant detective.

The heroine detective in John Lawrence Reynolds’ “Beach” mysteries is not one by choice: Josie Marshal had to solve the murder of her own husband. Returning in the noirish sequel Beach Blonde (At Bay Press), Josie puts her talents to helping a recently-released convict stave off suspicions in the murder of his cellmate.

8. From the top ropes; it’s a private investigator!

Pro-wrestler and private investigator “Hammerhead” Jed heads up A.J. Devlin’s exciting, Arthur Ellis Award-winning mystery series. The latest instalment is Five Moves of Doom (NeWest Press), where Jed has to infiltrate the MMA community to retrieve a missing UFC Champ belt.


7. Mysteries by the numbers.

Kevin Major’s award-winning Sebastian Synard mysteries set in Newfoundland are easy to keep track of: One for the RockTwo for the TablelandsThree for Trinity… with Four for Fogo Island (all Breakwater Books) right around the corner. These engaging, twisty mysteries are also wonderful ways to explore Newfoundland and Labrador from wherever you happen to hail from.

6. Bonhomme-de-murder most foul.

Anna Downdall takes her PI Ashley Smeeton through trials both personal and professional in April on Paris Street (Guernica Editions), in a mystery that ranges from Winter Carnaval to Paris and back to Montreal. The Montreal Review of Books called it “one of those guilty pleasures you sink into with abandon.” Oui, svp!

5. An anonymous (+ queer!) amateur sleuth.

The unnamed, pansexual protagonist in Candas Jane Dorsey’s Epitome Apartments mysteries returns in What’s the Matter with Mary Jane? (ECW Press), still grappling with the psychic wounds of her first foray into crime-solving. In this instalment, she’s called on to help her extravagantly wealthy friend Pris, who’s being stalked by a fan who clearly doesn’t know their boundaries.

4. A husband-and-wife solving team.

Archaeological illustrator Beatrix Forster and her archaeology professor husband, Bill, are coaxed out of retirement to northern Spain, to excavate the cemetery at San Miguel in Excelsis, in Danee Wilson’s Murder at San Miguel (Radiant Press). As you can guess by the title, their trip turns out to be more than a simple archaeology dig as the pair are pulled into solving the grisly murder of one of the students.


3. A mystery with a little history.

Maureen Jennings’s Paradise Café series blend Canadian history with exciting mysteries, following PI Charlotte Frayne. In November Rain (Cormorant Books), Charlotte is seconded to the police when a lookout for communists in a clothing manufacturer’s turns deadly, set among the Great Depression.

2. A home-and-garden reporter whom murders seem to follow around.

Sky Curtis’s hilarious, self-deprecating Robin MacFarland is a home-and-garden reporter for a Toronto newspaper, and nonetheless has grisly crimes appear on her doorstep. In the third Robin MacFarland adventure, Traps (Inanna Publications), what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday on a Nova Scotia coast turns into an investigation of the lobster industry and the murder of a local politician – certainly fishy!


1. A nurse and detective dream team.

Richard King writes these smart, so plausible they could be true-crime novels centring around a nurse at the Gursky Memorial Hospital, Annie Linton, and who would become her partner in crimesolving, Detective Sergeant Gilles Bellechasse. In the third book in the series, Serving Life (Baraka Books), Nurse Linton finds a troubling spate of deaths of dementia patients at Gursky might have something to do with the serial killer Gilles is investigating on the streets of Montreal.

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