Re: RARA-AVIS: Canadian Hardboiled

From: William Denton (
Date: 14 Jan 2001

On 14 January 2001, Darlene Black wrote:

: I have been having a difficult time finding out about Canadian
: hardboiled fiction. Oddly enough, in one book on Canadian crime
: writing Lawrence Block is listed but as far as I know he's not
: Canadian nor do any of his books take place in Canada. My preference
: is for fiction which takes place in Canada but even books written by
: Canadians would be of interest. Does anyone know of a link or have
: any suggestions?

The ultimate source would be David Skene-Melvin's enormous bibliography of Canadian crime fiction, CANADIAN CRIME FICTION (Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 1996). They're a pretty small press, and you can order it right from them, for over $100 I think, or get it at a library with a good reference section. Mr. Skene-Melvin was on the list for a while and you can find his e-mail address if you search the archives.

There are a number of good Canadian mystery writers, but I don't think any of them really write in a hardboiled style. The closest you'll get is politely softboiled, or resignedly hard-working in a sort of Presbyterian way. Hugh Garner's Inspector McDumont police procedurals come close. I'm leaving out Ross Macdonald, and any pulp writers who wrote for American pulps (because I can't think of any). Mr. Smith knows a lot about Canadian mysteries and will chip in, I'm sure.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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