Saturday, July 11, 2020

Bookshelf Traveling for Insane Times No. 16

I am participating in the Bookshelf Traveling For Insane Times meme, hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness. This week I have gathered a few of my books by Canadian authors. 

I am planning to join the Canadian Book Challenge at Canadian Bookworm soon and I thought I would share some books I plan to read. One of them I just bought recently; the others have been on the shelves for a while. I have listed the books in order by year of publication.

The Long November (1946)
by James Benson Nablo
Introduction by Brian Busby of The Dusty Bookcase. Reprinted by Vehicule Press as a part of the Ricochet series.

From the description on the back of the 2014 reprint edition:
The Long November is the story [of] Joe Mack, son of the grittier side of Cataract City – Niagara Falls – and his struggles to make something of himself; all for the love of well-to-do blonde beauty Steffie Gibson. It’s about rum running booze, Chicago beer trucks, Bay Street sharpshooters, the mines of Northern Ontario and fighting the Nazis in Italy.  It’s also about the women, the many women – married, unmarried and widowed – who shares Joe’s bed.

The Keys of My Prison (1956) 
by Frances Shelley Wees 
Introduction by Rosemary Aubert

Description from the book cover:
That Rafe Jonason’s life didn’t end when he smashed up his car was something of a miracle; on that everyone agreed. However, the devoted husband and pillar of the community emerges from hospital a very different man. Coarse and intolerant, this new Rafe drinks away his days, showing no interest in returning to work. Worst of all, he doesn’t appear to recognize or so much as remember his loving wife Julie. ... Is it that Julie never truly knew her husband? Or might it be that this man isn’t Rafe Jonason at all?
Originally published in 1956 by Doubleday, The Keys of My Prison is one of several suspense novels Wees set in Toronto. This Ricochet Books edition marks its return to print after fifty years.
The Stone Angel (1964)
by Margaret Laurence

This book was recommended to me by Patricia Abbott of pattinase.

In The Stone Angel, Hagar Shipley, age ninety, tells the story of her life, and in doing so tries to come to terms with how the very qualities which sustained her have deprived her of joy. Mingling past and present, she maintains pride in the face of senility, while recalling the life she led as a rebellious young bride, and later as a grieving mother. Laurence gives us in Hagar a woman who is funny, infuriating, and heartbreakingly poignant.
Set in the fictional town of Manawaka in the Canadian province of Manitoba, based on Laurence's hometown, Neepawa.

A Necessary End (1989)
by Peter Robinson

This is the 3rd book in the Inspector Banks series. The author, Peter Robinson, is Canadian (born in the UK, but emigrated to continue his education in Canada) but the series is set in Yorkshire, England. Five of the novels in the Inspector Banks series have been awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel.

From the description at Goodreads:
A peaceful demonstration in the normally quiet town of Eastvale ends with fifty arrests—and the brutal stabbing death of a young constable. But Chief Inspector Alan Banks fears there is worse violence in the offing. For CID Superintendent Richard Burgess has arrived from London to take charge of the investigation, fueled by professional outrage and volatile, long-simmering hatreds.

A Killing Spring (1996)
by Gail Bowen

This is the 6th book in a mystery series about Joanne Kilbourn, a political analyst and university professor who gets involved in criminal investigations. Set in Saskatchewan. Family and relationships play a large part in these mysteries. There are now 19 books in the series, published between 1990 and 2020.

This story begins as the head of the School of Journalism at the university where Joanne Kilbourn teaches is found dead, in embarrassing circumstances. Further misfortunes occur in Joanne's life, including a student who complained of sexual harrassment and then stops coming to class. Joanne looks into the student's disappearance.

City of the Lost (2016)
by Kelley Armstrong 

I first saw mention of this book at Cath's blog, Read-warbler. I love books set in  cold, isolated areas. Don't know why.

Two women have problems that they need to escape. People are looking for them and threatening them. They escape to a town in the Yukon wilderness. Per the book's description: "You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval."

That concept intrigues me, although it is possible the story will be too over-the-top for me or too violent and dark. But definitely worth a try. There are now five books in the series.

In the Dark (2019)
by Loreth Anne White

The premise of this book (eight guests invited to a luxury vacation in an isolated location) sounds very similar to two other books I have read recently: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. In fact, Agatha Christie's book under the name The Ten Little Indians is mentioned in this book. This story is set in northern British Columbia.


neer said...

Of these i have read The stone Angel. The Keys of my Prison tempts me the most. Have read too many disappointments supposedly based on And Then There Were none, thus am looking forward to your review of In The Dark. happy Reading, Tracy.

TracyK said...

Neeru, I know what you mean, as far as disappointments in that area. I am hoping that this one will be entertaining and a good picture of northern British Columbia. Having always lived in warmer climates in the US, the cold weather of Canada is amazing to me. I like to experience at a distance.

CLM said...

I agree - The Keys of My Prison sounds interesting. I like impersonation or the possibility of impersonation books. My first Patricia Wentworth was She Came Back, lent to my sister by a junior high friend, which I really liked.

I have read a couple books by Loreth Ann White. The stories were well-plotted but I found the heroine so unlikable that I didn't enjoy reading about her. It was not just her insecurity but as I recall she had plenty of empathy for her deceased victims (good) but none for her family or friends (bad).

Did you like The Hunting Party? I can't remember. I liked the concept although found the execution a little confusing but there were some clever aspects.

TracyK said...

Constance, I have not read She Came Back yet, but I do have a copy, so sometime soon I hope.

I had a similar reaction to yours when I read The Hunting Party. I enjoyed reading it and I liked the ending, which is pretty good. But I got tired of the switching to too many different characters too often and having to keep track of who it was. And so many unsympathetic characters.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

Of the books you list I've read just A Necessary End. Have you read Eyes Like Mine by Sheena Kamal? I think it's very good, set first in Vancouver and then in British Columbia (sounds beautiful).

Kay said...

Tracy, I've read City of the Lost and the next book in the series after it. I liked both of them and liked the Yukon setting. Hope you'll like it when you try it. I might also recommend Vicki Delany's Molly Smith series that set in British Columbia. It's a little lighter in tone - well, dead bodies, etc., but it's very good. Delany wrote 8 books in the series and then moved on to other series. The first is In The Shadow of the Glacier. Enjoy your Canada books!

Margot Kinberg said...

You have some excellent choices here, Tracy! Gail Bowen's Joanne Kilbourn series is very well-written, I think, and very Canadian. I've liked all of her novels that I've read. And Peter Robinson's Alan Banks series is great, too. He develops his characters very well, I think. You're in for some good reads.

TracyK said...

Margaret, Now you have added two new authors to my Canadian author list. I had read about Sheena Kamal before, but she never got added to my list. Also in Canada and the US, the title for Eyes Like Mine is The Lost Ones. Confusing. I will definitely be looking for a copy. Now the book is on my wishlist and the author is on my Canadian authors list. Thanks.

TracyK said...

Kay, I have read The Shadow of the Glacier by Delany, years ago. But it took a long time for me to get a copy of the 2nd book in the series, Valley of the Lost. I will be reading it for this challenge. Delany has written a lot of mysteries, but I haven't tried anything else by her.

TracyK said...

Margot, I am looking forward to my Canadian reading this year. You were the one who introduced me to Gail Bowen's books.

Katrina said...

I haven't read anything by any of those authors, I don't think I've read many books by Canadian authors so you're educating me here.

TracyK said...

Katrina, when I started doing the Canadian Book Challenge years ago, I mostly aimed at reading mysteries by Canadian authors and/or set in Canada. Over the years bloggers have suggested some classic fiction from Canadian authors, such as Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence. I am always open to trying more authors.

Cath said...

It's funny, I read City of the Lost last year (I think) and thought I would read book 2 fairly quickly but I haven't. And don't feel inclined to either, perhaps I will feel more like it at some later stage.

TracyK said...

Cath, that happens to me a lot. I don't know why but I enjoy a book and then don't go further in the series, even though I intended to. Too many good books to read, I guess. Can't read them all. I am looking forward to checking that first on in the series out.

Bill Selnes said...

TracyK: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them.

Gail Bowen's series has been consistently good. The 20th is to be released this summer.

I look forward to your thoughts on In the Dark. The remote wilderness setting and cruel early winter weather play important roles.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Am reading a Peter Robinson book right now-not a Banks book though. And I am reading Wees' other mystery also I AM NOT GUILTY. That one is being reprinted in the fall. Other Canadian writers I like include Robertson Davies, Margaret Millar, Brian Moore and Margaret Atwood, of course. Moore emigrated to Canada from the UK and ended up in the U.S. He did several mysteries under a pseudonym as well as great literary novels.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Bernard Mara was Moore's name for his pulpier novels. But he could write beautiful ones too, like THE LONELY PASSION OF JUDITH HEARNE, which Maggie Smith starred in.

TracyK said...

Bill, I will be glad to get back to the Joanne Kilbourn series. I think I will enjoy In the Dark also. I am glad I saw your review because summaries of the story alone would not have sparked my interest as much.

TracyK said...

Patti, I started reading the Peter Robinson book this morning. I will get the other Wees book when it comes out. I have not read Robertson Davies, but I like Margaret Millar a lots and have many of her books to read. I do need to read something by Atwood. I read The Handmaid's Tale when it came out; I thought it was a very good book but I did not enjoy reading it and that may have put me off her books.

I have read about Brian Moore's books, including the pulps, at Brian Busby's blog and in his book, The Dusty Bookcase. I do plan to read The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne for sure, and probably other of his books.

Rick Robinson said...

What did I miss? Peter Robinson isn't Canadian, is he?

TracyK said...

Rick, based on what I have read, he was born in Yorkshire, England. After getting his BA in England, he came to Canada and got an MA and PHD and continues to live in Canada. He has won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel several times, and that is reserved for permanent residents of Canada or Canadian citizens living abroad. So, for my purposes he is a Canadian author. I don't know if he is a citizen of Canada or not.

Rick Robinson said...

Well I'll be. Thanks, I sure thought he was a Brit.

Judith said...

The Kelly Armstrong novel is right up my alley! Yukon Wilderness. How perfect. I have just borrowed the ebook from the New York Public Library. I'll try to read it quickly before the Penman book arrives at my door. Thanks.

TracyK said...

Me too, Judith. I hope you enjoy it. I am looking forward to reading it.

col2910 said...

Tracy, there's a few there that I'm totally unfamiliar with, especially the older books. A couple of the authors I have heard of but don't think I have anything on my shelves by them. I think The Keys of My Prison interests me the most. I kind of forget Peter Robinson when I think of Canadian crime or authors.

TracyK said...

Col, I have now finished the book by Peter Robinson, it was good. Maybe I will read more by him during this challenge since I have more on the TBR. I think the Kelley Armstrong book is calling to me for my next Canadian read. I am curious about the story and whether I will want to continue the series.