Monday, January 7, 2013

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Elizabeth J. Duncan is a winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. She was shortlisted for the Agatha and Arthur Ellis Awards. Her latest Penny Brannigan mystery is A Small Hill to Die On.

Late last year I asked Duncan about what she was reading.  Her reply:
I’ve just finished reading Until the Night by Giles Blunt, whom I consider Canada’s best crime writer. He’s certainly my favourite. The sixth in the John Cardinal series, Until the Night might be the best of the lot. It’s complex, surprising, and above all, superbly well written. It’s literary crime fiction.

In this novel Blunt does the nearly impossible – he pulls together two strands of distinct narrative in a way that stuns the reader. The two narratives involve different points of view, different times, different characters and yet everything makes perfect sense when all the elements collide at the end in an unforgettable climax. Blunt has years of experience writing for television and it shows; his story telling is visual and visceral.

His characters are crisp, sharply defined, flawed and human. They make mistakes; they say the wrong things and they take decisions they regret. But as they reveal themselves to us, we feel closer to them and identify with their struggles.

Several of his books are set in winter, which plays out brilliantly in the small Northern Ontario city where the action takes place. His descriptions are evocative; he must know at least forty words for cold.

Giles Blunt is a supremely talented writer at the height of his creativity. I can’t say enough good things about his writing. Don’t wait until the night to start reading him.

In the non-fiction area, I always enjoy a telling biography, so was delighted when a friend gave me a copy of Uggie--My Story for my birthday.

In this honest reflection, the dog that stole our hearts in The Artist looks back on his show biz career and the huge success that came to him in 2012. Uggie describes the set backs he endured along the way and the hard work and long hours that he and his trainer/dad Omar Muller have put in. Although he now travels the world first class, is mobbed at personal appearances and has his paw prints enshrined at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, this well-grounded canine celebrity gives credit where it’s due and offers an honest, open look at life in the movie lane.

Truly, the best autobiography written by a dog. You can hear Uggie’s adorable bark on every page.
Visit Elizabeth J. Duncan's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Cold Light of Mourning.

The Page 69 Test: A Brush with Death.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Elizabeth J. Duncan and Dolly.

--Marshal Zeringue