Femmes Fatales: Women in Mystery & Crime Fiction

27may3:30 pm4:30 pmFemmes Fatales: Women in Mystery & Crime FictionWith Bryn Turnbull, Emily Saso, Nekesa Afia, and Arpita Ghosal

Speakers for this event

  • Arpita Ghosal

    Arpita Ghosal


    Arpita is an educator and writer living in Toronto. She teaches at the TDSB, where in 16 years, she has served in various roles. In addition, she has taught post-secondary credit courses in English lit, ESL, and children’s literature. Arpita is also an arts journalist who has worked in radio, TV and print media. In 2012, she founded SesayArts Magazine (SesayArts.com), where she profiles diverse authors and artists, and reviews theatre, dance, film and literature. She is an avid reader and advocate for Indigenous and Canadian Lit.

    URL http://www.sesayarts.com/


  • Bryn Turnbull

    Bryn Turnbull


    Bryn Turnbull is an internationally bestselling author of historical fiction. Her debut novel, The Woman Before Wallis, was named one of the top ten bestselling works of Canadian fiction for 2020. Her second, The Last Grand Duchess, came out in 2022 and spent eight weeks on Canadian bestseller lists. Her third novel, The Paris Deception, comes out on May 30th. 

    URL https://www.brynturnbull.com/


  • Emily Saso

    Emily Saso


    Emily Saso’s new novel, Nine Dash Line, is a thriller set in the South China Sea. Her darkly funny debut, The Weather Inside, is about a former Jehovah’s Witness in Toronto. She holds her master’s degree in political science with a specialization in international relations and security studies.

    URL https://emilysaso.com/


  • Nekesa Afia

    Nekesa Afia


    Nekesa (Nuh-kes-ah) Afia (Ah-fee-ah) is a Canadian millennial who is doing her best. She has written three books in the Harlem Renaissance series featuring a tiny, tired lesbian forced into solve crime. When Nekesa isn’t writing, she is sewing, dancing, or actively trying to pet every dog she sees.

    URL https://www.nekesaafia.com/


Event Details

How do femme protagonists bring fresh insight and energy to classic genres like mysteries, thrillers, and crime fic? And how are femme authors innovating on these old plotlines? Moderated by Arpita Ghosal, SesayArts Magazine

The Paris Deceptions by Bryn Turnbull
MIRA Books (HarperCollins)

Sophie Dix fled Stuttgart with her brother as the Nazi regime gained power in Germany. Now, with her brother gone and her adopted home city of Paris conquered by the Reich, Sophie reluctantly accepts a position restoring damaged art at the Jeu de Paume museum under the supervision of the ERR—a German art commission using the museum as a repository for art they’ve looted from Jewish families.  

Fabienne Brandt was a rising star in the Parisian bohemian arts movement until the Nazis put a stop to so-called “degenerate” modern art. Still mourning the loss of her firebrand husband, she’s resolved to muddle her way through the occupation in whatever way she can—until her estranged sister-in-law, Sophie, arrives at her door with a stolen painting in hand.

Soon the two women embark upon a plan to save Paris’s “degenerates,” working beneath the noses of Germany’s top art connoisseurs to replace the paintings in the Jeu de Paume with skillful forgeries—but how long can Sophie and Fabienne sustain their masterful illusion?

Nine Dash Line by Emily Saso
Freehand Books

A U.S. Navy intelligence officer, Jess is serving on an aircraft carrier (the first woman ever to do so) until she gets assigned a top-secret mission. When the mission goes wrong, she’s rescued by Philippine Navy sailors who’ve been strategically moored for far too long. Things get complicated when their unhinged leader declares Jess an angel sent to save them from their disastrous mission. But Jess is no angel; she’s done horrible things and she’s desperate for absolution.

The only person who can give it to her is Zi Shan. Exiled by the Communist Party of China to a coral sprawl called Mischief Reef, he’s been tasked with turning the reef into an island by dredging sand from the ocean floor. Each day he follows a series of bizarre directives, desperate to one day be allowed to return to his daughter. But when Jess washes up on his shore, everything turns to chaos.

Harlem Sunset by Nekesa Afia
Berkley (Penguin Random House)

Harlem, 1927. Twenty-seven-year-old Louise Lloyd has found the perfect job! She is the new manager of the Dove, a club owned by her close friend Rafael Moreno. There Louise meets Nora Davies, one of the girls she was kidnapped with a decade ago. The two women—along with Rafael and his sister, Louise’s girlfriend, Rosa Maria—spend the night at the Dove, drinking and talking. The next morning, Rosa Maria wakes up covered in blood, with no memory of the previous night. Nora is lying dead in the middle of the dance floor. 
Louise knows Rosa Maria couldn’t have killed Nora, but the police have a hard time believing that no one can remember anything at all about what happened. When Louise and Rosa Maria return to their apartment after being questioned by the police, they find the word GUILTY written across the living room wall in paint that looks a lot like blood. Someone has gone to great lengths to frame and terrify Rosa Maria, and Louise will stop at nothing to clear the woman she loves.


Accessibility Sponsor: Penguin Random House Canada