Archive for the ‘A Life of Crime’ Category

Here we are…. my latest short story involving secrets, lies, betrayals and train travel.

Murder on the Northern Lights Express

Northern Lights Express arrives at Cumberland Bridge, Ontario

In 1961, Alice Berlin boards the Northern Lights Express in Toronto, heading north on a reunion trip with her old friends from university. The only member of the group missing is Walter, who died in an accident two years ago.

As the train speeds northwards through the autumn countryside, Alice begins to work on her hidden agenda, finding out who knows the truth behind Flames Along the St. Lawrence, the brilliant historical work that’s taking the academic world by storm.

Murder on the Northern Lights Express” is featured in Mystery Most Geographical, the latest anthology from the wonderful people at Malice Domestic, the annual traditional mystery conference held each April in Maryland.

Mystery Most Geographical is available at the Malice Domestic Conference (April 27-29, 2018) or all your favourite online bookstores.


Read Full Post »

There’s a new man in my life: Arthur Ellis.  He’s moved into my house and lives on my desk.

Last night, I received the 2017 Arthur Ellis Award for my short story, “A Death at the Parsonage“, from the Crime Writers of Canada.

I was in good company when I was shortlisted last month, along with fellow writers in The Whole She-Bang 3 anthology, Cathy Ace and Elizabeth Hosang.

And I’m in good company again with the other winners (below).  All the details about their winning books can be found at the CWC website.

It was an exciting night, meeting with other crime writers, and having Norman and my tablemates send good vibes my way.

Many, many thanks to the Crime Writers of Canada and their endless work in making the awards happen, and to their hard-reading judges.

I have to share here some of the commentary from the judges:

…Susan Daly combines all the familiar elements of Pride and Prejudice in a murder… following the conclusion of Jane Austen’s literary Classic.  Daly’s witty dialogue and sensitive attention to detail pull the reader back in the world of Elizabeth Darcy (née Bennet) and her hapless friend Charlotte, who now finds herself under suspcion after the violent and mysterious death of her husband. Daly’s characters all seem to have stepped gracefully out of the original novel as she seamlessly weaves old with new. …Most compelling is the author’s ability to make us believe in the world she has created.  Here is a well crafted story and a thoroughly entertaining reminder of what darkness human beings are capable of when they [dare to] read novels.

The winners: Donna Morrissey (not present), S.J. Jennings, Marie-Ève Bourassa, Elle Wild, Christina Jennings, Gordon Korman (not present), Jeremy Grimaldi, Rick Blechta and me.

And many more thanks to Toronto Sisters in Crime for pulling together the three Whole She-Bang anthologies.

Sisters in Crime: Janet Costello, me, Helen Nelson. With Arthur

Thanks also to Jane Austen for creating my characters.

Where to buy The Whole She-Bang 3

Read Full Post »

A Death at the Parsonage – exciting news.

I’m having a great time with my short stories this year. And now, can you believe it, “A Death at the Parsonage“, has been shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for best short story.

The story, included in The Whole She-Bang 3 Anthology, is based on characters from Pride and Prejudice characters (as if no one has done that before) because I feel that Charlotte deserves better in life than to be stuck with Mr. Collins forever, though she explains her low expectations to Elizabeth:

I am not romantic, you know; I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state. (P&P, Chapter 22)

The Collinses in Happier Times

It was inevitable, perhaps, that someday someone would get fed up with the “conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man” (as Elizabeth so roundly describes him) and take a swing at him.

When the finger of guilt points to Mrs. Collins, it’s fortunate that her dearest friend is on hand to set matters straight.


The Whole She-Bang 3 is the collaborative work of members of Toronto Sisters in Crime, co-ordinated by Helen Nelson, edited by Janet Costello and brought to life by a tireless team of volunteers. The anthology features works by 20 Canadian crime writers, and is (can you tell by the title?) the third in the Whole She-Bang Series. All are available from your favourite on-line booktores.

The Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Crime Writing are held every year by the Crime Writers of Canada. The shortlists were announced April 20, and include, as always, a glorious array of talented Canadian crime writers in a variety of categories.

The award gets its name from the Nom de Noose of Canada’s Official Hangmen, who were never known by their real names. The charming wooden statuette (to quote the CWC website) represents a “condemned man on a gibbet whose arms and legs flail when you pull a string – considered by some to be in execrable taste.”

Capital punishment was abolished in Canada in 1976; the last official hanging took place in 1962.

Read Full Post »

I’ve spent a lot of time reading other people’s wonderful book blogs  and commenting copiously, all the while adding to my teetering TBR pile.

But really, I have to start doing a little reviewing myself.  And so I’ve been sparked by the 1951  Club, introduced by Simon Stuck in a Book, Karen at Kaggsy’s Booking Ramblings.

It’s simple, I think. Read and review books published in 1951. And share the lovely logo.

The 1951 Club

So, I went through my Books Catalogue and my Books Read (since 2010) and found a clutch of 1951 Books asking to be reviewed. Which I will get to.

In the meantime, I’ll link to a few existing mystery reviews I’ve come across in my blog wanderings.

Stranglehold, by Mary McMullen, at Clothes in Books. A delicious step back in time to the world of 1950s Madison Avenue. As soon as I read this review, I knew I had to buy it. Here’s my comment at Moira’s blog:

I just loved it. All those cigarettes and cocktails and fashion plates and office politics and product pushing. I liked the bit where the client is all about making America fall in love with cold breakfast cereal again, and weaning them away from bacon and eggs.

Trixie Belden and the Gatehouse Mystery, by Julie Campbell. Reviewed by Bev at My Reader’s Block.  I did comment, but I think it’s worth a review of my own. Coming soon.


Duplicate Death, a Georgette Heyer mystery, also reviewed by Bev. Again set in the big city post-war world. London this time. And one of my all-time favourite books.  Another one that’s begging for me to review it.

It’s worth noting that while these were all written contemporary to their time, they are now windows into the past. Authentic period pieces. Perhaps even historical mysteries.

But stay tuned, because first I will be featuring a non-mystery 1951 novel by Olive Higgins Prouty, best known for Stella Dallas (1923) and Now, Voyager (1941). Get your hankies ready.


Read Full Post »

Busy month.  The Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime is about to release their 4th fishy anthology, Fish Out of Water.

All of the talented writers in this collection have started with the title theme, focussing on a character who is swimming outside their comfort zone and getting in deeper.

I’m so pleased my own story “Gossip” is part of this collection.

Amy, a successful artist, returns to the small town she left behind her nearly twenty years ago, having heard a surprising revelation about her reputation.

She’s back to set the story straight, but soon finds it’s not easy to root out what really happened.

Especially when the Church Bazaar Ladies get down and dirty with the gossip.

Amy Hartmann parked on the main street near the Co-op and lit a cigarette and waited. How stupid was it to come back? What could she achieve? Although no one had said anything to her face, she knew half the town—the half over forty—remembered her as the girl who stole Louise Mathieson’s husband.

She’d felt like a fish out of water in this hole since the moment she was born. Too smart, too ambitious, too full of ideas. Eighteen years ago, she’d vowed never to return. Carpathia wasn’t Vancouver. Hell, it wasn’t even Vernon. It was the dreariest dump in Canada, and she’d seen a lot of dreary dumps in her hungry years.

Damn the luck anyway, running into Leon Briggs last month. If only she’d looked through him, instead of letting herself wonder where she knew him from. Leon, in no way memorable except for how he would hang around outside the high school, eyeing the girls. They’d all made fun of him. Creepy old Leon.

Though no creepier than a lot of the men in the town. Her father included.

Leon had remembered her, all right. Along with the unknown history she’d left behind. That had been the shocker.

There she was. Louise Mathieson hadn’t changed in all these years, except to look even more dowdy and plain. Jesus, was that the same coat she’d worn eighteen years ago? Amy stubbed out her cigarette and got out of the car.

Louise knew her immediately. She didn’t appear surprised. Just angry.

Fish Out of Water, edited by Ramona Defilice Long, is published by Wildside Press, and is available there in paperback.

Where else to buy Fish Out of Water.

Read Full Post »

Another exciting publication date is coming up for me at the end of April. My short mystery “The Lady’s Maid Vanishes” will be part of Malice Domestic’s latest anthology, Mystery Most Historical.

The 29th annual Malice Domestic Conference is being held April 28-30 in Maryland. This year’s theme is historical mystery, and I’m in good company with 29 other mystery writers, including Catriona McPherson, Marcia Talley and Martin Edwards.

“The Lady’s Maid Vanishes” takes place in 1931, when Lady Byng, wife of the former Governor General of Canada, and her entourage are staying at a rustic lodge in the Rockies. Her maid, Vaughan, goes for a walk in the woods, and vanishes.

The story was inspired by an incident I read in the memoirs of Evelyn, Lady Byng, Up The Stream of Time. In real life, Vaughan was found safe, though terrified, long after nightfall.

Evelyn Byng, Viscountess Byng of Vimy

My story, however, takes quite a different turn.

The collection is published by Wildside Press and will be available at the conference (at the end of April) and afterwards at their website.

Read Full Post »

I suppose my youthful enthusiasm is showing…. January 14’s Toronto Star had a great review for The Whole She-Bang 3. And somehow, Jack Batten put little glitter lights all over my story.

The antholowsb3-jack-battens-review-dategy is a huge collaborative effort by a lot of Sisters in Crime, expecially Helen Nelson, co-ordinator in chief, and editor Janet Costello. We had volunteers dealing with receiving and juggling all the submissions and judges and proof-readers and a crackerjack cover artist.  And 17 other terrific writers.

And the column was picked up by the Waterloo Region Record too, so my cousin John emailed me to tell me I’m famous. (Well, in a few households anyway.)

I have to say I’m feeling pretty chuffed over Jack’s singling me out.

Where to buy a copy







Read about my earlier story in The Whole She-Bang 2

where Jack Batten also gave me a mention: “Susan Daly presents a juicy story of confrontations between characters based on Rob Ford and Margaret Atwood.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: