This past Thursday night (April 18), everyone in Canada’s crime-writing community was holding their collective breath in anticipation. This year’s finalists for the Arthur Ellis Awards were to be announced. The crowd gathered in the Chapters/Indigo store at Bay and Bloor, Toronto, included a good many members of the Mesdames who soon made their presence known. But I’ll get to that shortly. Patience, patience…
“Arthur Ellis” was the pseudonym given to Canada’s first hangman, so that friends and relatives of those who encountered him at the business end of the noose would be unable to identify him. It is a fitting name for Crime Writers of Canada’s annual crime-writing awards. But I digress, gentle reader….
Our host for the evening was the charming and affable Jon Redfern, (The Boy Must Die and Trumpets Sound No More), himself a former AE winner.
First on the program was a reading by acclaimed author Joy Fielding from her new novel, Shadow Creek. The segment read by Fielding was gripping. However, I was just as taken by her short black skirt and high red patent heels. High fashion meets suspense!
Several of Canada’s crime writers then read from their work to the delight of the assembled aficionados and several Chapters/Indigo customers who crept over to the group to listen in. It was a veritable feast of murder, mischief and mayhem, a delightful, if somewhat gruesome, two hours.
Elegant and poised, Mesdames member Cathy Astolfo led off, reading from her book Victim. She was followed by Mesdames member, Melodie Campbell, whose hilarious reading from her novel The Goddaughter, left us wiping our eyes with laughter and wanting more. Rosemary McCracken, also a member of the Mesdames, read from her soon-to-be-released novel, Black Water, the second in the Pat Tierney series.
After a short break and replete with coffee and giant cookies (definitely not on the menu if I want to dress like Joy Fielding), the moment we’d all been waiting for, arrived. The finalists in the various Arthur Ellis categories were announced, and the Mesdames were right in there!
Our own Melodie Campbell is a finalist in the Short Story category, with her Life Without George.
Cheryl Freedman, the Mesdames esteemed editor and, better known to Crime Writers of Canada, as “she who must be obeyed” announced the finalists in the Best First Novel category.
Elegant, silver-haired Lynne Murphy, author, member of the Mesdames, and a past president of the Toronto chapter of Sisters in Crime, announced the finalists in the Novella category. Lynne, by the way, made the long list in the Unhanged Arthur category, for her manuscript, Cold as a Toad. Lynne is a very funny lady. Between Lynne and Mel (Campbell) – who knew that murder could be so funny? A wicked sense of humour one might say.
But before leaving the novella category… well-known Canadian crime writer, and Mesdames member, Vicki Delany’s offering, A Winter Kill, is a finalist.
Mesdames founder, author, Arthur Ellis and Debut Dagger finalist, M.H. Callway, announced the finalists in the Non-Fiction category.
Congratulations everyone who made the cut, especially our own Mesdames of Mayhem!