Book picks as published in the Oct. 16, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.
Chop Suey Nation : the Legion Cafe and other stories from Canada’s Chinese restaurants
By Ann Hui
In 2016, Globe and Mail reporter Ann Hui drove across Canada to write about small-town Chinese restaurants and the families who run them. Using her own family’s story as a touchstone, she explores the importance of these quintessentially Canadian restaurants in the country’s history. The StarFest event with Ann Hui on Friday, Oct. 25 is sold out.
Moon of the crusted snow : a novel
By Waubgeshig Rice
A daring post-apocalyptic novel from a powerful rising literary voice. With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. StarFest event tickets for Oct. 26 are still available!
When the body of a man is found in a car wreck on the Solway mud flats, it’s initially treated as an unfortunate accident. That is until he’s identified as a man who was declared dead two years previously. DI Marjory (Big Marge) Fleming is called in to assist in the investigation, much to the chagrin of DI Len Harris who is relegated to following her lead.
Her investigation finds that the dead man was part of a group called the Cyrenaics who believed that pleasure was the ultimate – until one of them died from an overdose. The group disbanded, with some moving away, others disappearing, and one supposedly committing suicide. It is this last person who is now the center of their investigation.
Fleming and her team are tasked with investigating the recent death while having to review the case of the overdose death two years previously. Their job is complicated enough without the constant hostility of Harris and his team who go as far as with-holding evidence with the aim of sabotaging the investigation.
A complicated case with complex characters leads to a whopping good mystery. Templeton is at the top of her game with this one.
Attempting to heal their fractured family, Eric and Ellie Nyland move everyone back to Eric’s rural childhood home. When they discover that a young girl in their neighbourhood is being abused, the Nylands take her in while she waits for a new home. The story adeptly explores the way the girl and the family impact each other.
Learn more from Fran Kimmel about this powerful tale and others when she joins us for STARFest 2019 on Oct. 22 at 7 PM.
The Waiting Hours
By Shandi Mitchell
The Waiting Hours tells the interconnected stories of a 911 dispatcher, a police officer and a trauma nurse who work the tense hours between 3 and 6 AM, when emergency calls are typically most dire. Set during a heat wave with the threat of a hurricane looming, all three characters become enmeshed in a situation that will have life-altering consequences.
Join us on Oct. 24 at 7 PM to experience Shandi Mitchell in conversation with Jacqueline Baker for STARFest 2019.
Toby has experienced significant loss in her young life, and struggles to let even her closest friends in. When the father that abandoned her returns, she learns that he is gay and a drag queen, and that he is totally unprepared to parent her. Toby discovers a more hopeful path through the support of her flawed but loving friends and family.
Experience Brian Francis is conversation with Mia Soetaert, a local LGBTQ advocate, on Oct. 20 at 2 PM.
Seeking an alternative to the frenetic pace of daily life, Bokma endeavours on a year-long journey to find her own definition of spirituality. Raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, Bokma’s experiments in spiritual practices, which range from experiments with magic mushrooms to forest therapy, shift her outlook and mindset in surprising ways.
Join us on Oct. 21 at 7 PM to learn more from Anne Bokma when she joins us for STARFest 2019.
Though not a mystery in itself, this volume is a prequel to the Grantchester mystery series (books) and gives us a picture of what led Sydney Chambers to his calling as a vicar. It is 1938 and war is on the horizon. Sydney Chambers spends the next seven years serving his country, gaining a Military Cross, and suffers the loss of friends and companions. Everything that’s happened to him during this time shapes his future as a private citizen and a member of the clergy. It gives us an understanding of why he thinks the way he does and helps explain the reasons for the actions that he takes in his day to day life.
This is a must-read for everyone who has enjoyed reading the Grantchester Mysteries.
This cozy mystery series by Canadian author Charlotte MacLeod features Inspector Madoc Rhys of the RCMP and his wife Janet. For the most part, the stories take place in New Brunswick. I look at them as being a cross between a good Agatha Christie novel, a bit of the Murdoch Mysteries (the TV series) and a touch of the Beverly Hillbillies.
The books are peopled with funny, colorful, and eccentric characters. The plots are intricate and well-crafted and the mystery of “who dunnit” is not easily solved. It’s a delightful series, providing many laughs as I paged through each book. How unfortunate that there are only five books to this series. I would gladly have read an additional five if they existed.