Murder She Wrote: Family, Truth, and Social Justice

21sep2:00 pm3:00 pmMurder She Wrote: Family, Truth, and Social JusticeAndrea Gunraj, Dorothy Ellen Palmer, Sheena Kamal, Moderator: Angela Misri

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What kinds of new perspectives do women writers bring to the mystery genre? Moving beyond the stereotypes of macho detectives and murderous noir, women are reinvigorating the mysteries with new protagonists, perspectives, issues, and themes. This diverse collection of writers use their mysteries to examine family and found family, marginalized communities, feminism, food, and murder rooted in race, sex, and class. For these writers, solving the mystery means speaking truth to power in pursuit of social justice.

Books featured:

Wiggins: Son of Sherlock
MX Publishing

On New Year’s Day 1891, Sherlock Holmes summons the limping street urchin, Wiggins, to Baker Street and decrees he must die at dawn. Wiggins, however, has other plans. To fulfil the dying wish of his mother, Irene Adler, he schemes with his two formidable American aunties to keep two important facts from the great detective: Mrs. Hudson is actually his Aunt Grizelda, and he is both Holmes’ child and a girl pretending to be a boy. Through a series of mysterious letters Adler bequeathed to Wiggins, the dark backstory of her parents and all their long-kept family secrets unravel. To flee the mad King of Bohemia trying to claim Wiggins as his heir, Holmes and Wiggins begin their Great Hiatus. From Mycroft to Moriarty, from Dr. John H. Watson to the Baker Street Irregulars, from P.T. Barnum to Jumbo the Elephant, Wiggins learns little is what it seems. Slowly learning to trust each other, Holmes and Wiggins travel from London to Reichenbach Falls to New York City to a small farm in Canada which holds the secrets of their family history. Together, they correct the errors in Watson’s tales, bond over Wiggins’ disability, drop their masquerades, and deduce a father and daughter future.

No Going Back
William Morrow Paperbacks (HarperCollins)

Find your enemy. Before he finds you.

Nora Watts has a talent for seeing what lies beneath strangers’ surfaces, and for knowing what they’re working hard to keep hidden. Somehow, it’s the people closest to her she has trouble truly connecting with. In the case of Bonnie, the teenage daughter Nora gave up for adoption, she has to keep trying. For Bonnie has a target on her back—and it’s all because of Nora.

Two years ago, Bonnie was kidnapped by the wealthy Zhang family. Though Nora rescued her, she made a powerful enemy in Dao, a mysterious triad enforcer and former head of the Zhangs’ private security. Now Dao is out for revenge, and she needs to track him down in order to keep herself—and Bonnie—safe.

On Dao’s trail, Nora forms an unlikely partnership with Bernard Lam, an eccentric playboy billionaire with his own mysterious grudge to bear, and reunites with Jon Brazuca, ex-cop turned private investigator and Nora’s occasional ally. From Canada to southeast Asia, they pursue Dao, uncovering a shadowy criminal cabal. But soon, the trail will lead full circle to Vancouver, the only home Nora’s ever known, and right to the heart of her brutal past.

The Lost Sister/
Vagrant Press (Nimbus)

The anticipated sophomore novel from the celebrated author of The Sudden Disappearance of Seetha, which Quill & Quire called “an exciting, memorable debut.” Partially inspired by the real-life experiences of a former resident of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, The Lost Sister bravely explores the topics of child abuse, neglect, and abduction against a complex interplay of gender, race, and class dynamics.

Alisha and Diana are young sisters living at Jane and Finch, a Toronto suburb full of immigrants trying to build new lives in North America. Diana, the eldest, is the light of the little family, the one Alisha longs to emulate more than anyone else. But when Diana doesn’t come home one night and her body is discovered in the woods, Alisha becomes haunted. She thinks she knows who did it, but can’t tell anyone about it.

Unable to handle the loss of their daughter and unaware of Alisha’s secret guilt, the family unravels. It’s only through an unusual friendship with Paula, an older woman who volunteers at her school, that Alisha finds reprieve. Once an orphan in the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children and estranged from her own sister, Paula helps Alisha understand that the chance for redemption and peace only comes with facing difficult truths.

The Detective and the Spy
Cormorant Books

It’s taken years, but Portia Adams has found an outlet for her obsessive curiosity as the consulting detective of 221B Baker Street, like her grandfathers before her. Scotland Yard taps her for their trickiest crimes, she’s in her last year of law school, and finally things are heating up between Portia and her downstairs tenant, Constable Brian Dawes. But a bomb planted at a crime scene destroys everything she has fought so hard to establish.

She wakes up to a world she can’t communicate with, the sounds around her dulled and unintelligible, and the words that come out of her mouth are garbled and incomprehensible. Brian was hurt in other ways, the burns on his hands and arms causing pain that makes him turn to the opium dens Sherlock Holmes was also known to frequent.

The bomber continues to wreak havoc all over London, but no one will work with Portia – everyone from her allies at the Yard to the public itself dismisses the young detective as damaged goods. To make matters worse, a rabid spymaster at MI6 believes she’s involved in the bombings, and Portia finds herself on the run having to relearn her skills in a deafeningly silent world.

Time

(Tuesday) 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm