RARA-AVIS: D'oh Canada

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 02 Sep 2004

Kent wrote:

>A poster mentioned a hockey plotline in Steve Hamilton's Winter of
>the Wolf Moon. Clearly Hamilton has little idea about hockey as he
>has former baseball catcher Alex McKnight putting on the goal pads
>for the first time and "stoning" a team of high-level players in a
>game. This leads to a confrontation in a bar following the game
>between McKnight and the opposition's star player that kicks off the
>storyline. As a long-time hockey player, I can guarantee that a team
>of "ordinary" players would score almost at will against a goalie
>with little skating and no goaltending experience. These guys were
>supposedly experienced players who were very upset because they
>couldn't score on McKnight. It ruined the book for me.

I hate to sound like Rick Mercer here, but Hamilton seems to show a similar dodgy (and occasionally patronizing) knowledge of not just hockey but of Canada in general. The line that got me in BLOOD IS THE SKY was something about how Toronto was a large city "by Canadian standards."

Like, it's one of the largest cities on the continent, easily larger than most American cities last time I checked, but it's only large
"by Canadian standards"?

And fellow Michigan writer Loren Estleman displays a similar iffy knowledge of Canada in a recent western of his, where he has the Mounties roaring into the battle in the 1800s waving the maple leaf flag that first made its appearance in the 1960s.

And his latest Amos walker novel, RETRO, while another solid read, is marred (at least for me) by a similarly cartoonish vision of Canada, with a Toronto detective agency actually calling itself the Loyal Dominion Enquiry Agency and sporting both a maple leaf flag and a Mountie in its Yellow Pages display ad. What, no hockey players or moose?

I dunno -- Detroit isn't that far from the Canadian border. Maybe it's just the Michigan school system.

(Yeah, I know. Some guys get all out of shape over mistakes about guns, I get miffed about errors about Canada. Maybe we can "educate" a few of them "foreigners" at Bouchercon this year...)



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