Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than forty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.

Delany's new Catskill Resort mystery is Deadly Summer Nights.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Delany's reply:
I normally like a good bit of variety in my reading but for some reason this has been my summer of psychological suspense.

I picked up The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris because I’d heard a lot of high praise about it, and I was not disappointed. It’s set in the modern American publishing world, and what writer doesn’t want to know the insides of the business they are so dependent upon yet so distant from. At first the plot seems predictable – Woman One meets Woman Two who she expects to be her ally at work but it doesn’t quite turn out that way – and then it takes a very unexpected turn. I loved the plot, the characters, and the writing, but I also loved that it gave me some insight into lives I’m not familiar with. I’m a white Canadian woman living in a rural part of Canada, so there are not (as in none) many Black people in my personal life.

A long time ago, I was a keen reader of British author Robert Goddard. He’s been called “the master of the triple cross” because of his complicated plots and unexpected twists. Somehow, he fell off my radar about fifteen years ago. His name cropped up recently when I saw the title of his newest book, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection. It’s about a Japanese woman who works as an assistant to a private detective. When he’s killed, she takes up his latest case. Sounds pretty predictable but it’s full of the trademark Goddard twists. As long as I was reading Goddard, I went back to see what he’d done lately that I’d missed and found several books.

I particularly liked Fault Line, from 2012. The book travels back and forth in time, following the protagonist as his life is entwined with the neighbouring rich family. Twists and turns, and secrets, plenty of secrets, both past and present.

I have to add, that I wonder why modern thrillers have such mundane, totally interchangeable titles. Fault Line could be the title of a hundred other books (and it probably is). The Other Black Girl and The Fine Art of Invisible Detection stood out for me initially precisely because of the originality of their titles.

Another mundane title is The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James, although a book I also enjoyed. Who doesn’t love a true gothic novel – mysterious isolated house, strange children, the friendless and family less governess, the handsome brooding man of the house, the dour housekeeper with her warnings, and (maybe) a resident ghost who does not mean the governess well. Perfect summer fare.
Visit Vicki Delany's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen.

The Page 69 Test: A Scandal in Scarlet.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in a Teacup.

--Marshal Zeringue