Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mystery novels are more popular that ever. Although half my book club is immersed in Scandinavian noir, I lean toward the historical mysteries. I was delighted to discover Jason Goodwin whose books are set in 19th century Constantinople.  The detective, Inspector Yashim, has access to the harem and its secrets. I am also a fan of Anne Perry and Tasha Alexandra who explore evil doing in Victorian England and Fiona Buckley who makes Queen Elizabeth I’s court her home. And I am still a Sherlock fan, either in the original or the modern versions.

Recently I watched the Brother Cadfael TV series on DVD courtesy of the local library. A couple of years ago, I read all the Cadfael books, written by Ellis Peters. The detective, Cadfael, is a medieval monk who solves mysteries right from his monastery. In the television series, Brother Cadfael was played by Derek Jacobi, a perfect choice for the gentle friar. Also recently, I read Boris Akunin, who writes about life (and death) in pre-revolutionary Russian. His detective is a small and quiet nun, Sister Pelagia, who quietly but bravely tracks down the murderer.  Of course Alan Bradley has his child detective, Flavia de Luce, the clever kid, who scours the English countryside for the villain. And Louise Penny introduces a lot of historical material into her wonderful books, everything from comments on the death of Champlain to the life of Emily Carr.

But my most recent and delightful discovery leaves the historical to enter into the modern world of international business and concomitant crime: scams, money laundering and outright theft. The detective is, of all things, an accountant! But not just your ordinary accountant. Ava Lee, Chinese-Canadian and martial arts expert, tackles the dark forces to recover massive debts caused by fraud or theft. Written by Canadian Ian Hamilton, the series is available in the local library. I just finished “The Water Rat of Wanchai,” and place it in the category of a great read. Many thanks to Murray Becotte, a man involved in the local financial world, who first told me about Ian Hamilton.

Your favourite mystery?  Favourite mystery author? Send us a post ( and tell us what you like and why.  We’d love to pass on your opinion to our readers.   

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