Re: RARA-AVIS: Toronto fiction (and bookstores)

From: William Denton (
Date: 06 Sep 2004

On 7 September 2004, wrote:

: So - in the spirit of the upcoming Bouchercon - could anyone please
: recommend some of Toronto's crime fiction? It would be nice if we could
: come up with a nice little reading list. Despite it's size, T.O. doesn't
: seem to have a body of hardboiled or noir writing comparable to even
: medium-sized American cities... or am a wrong?

You're right, but when you consider Toronto's history and reputation as a clean, upright, Protestant city where liquor was a sin, it's not too surprising. We've had crime, but not like Montreal. There's a fair bit of crime and mystery writing set here, but most is fairly cozy. The two things I'd recommend are the Inspector McDumont series by Hugh Garner
(including DEATH IN DON MILLS, a title that always makes me laugh) and the Charlie Salter series by Eric Wright. Both are police procedurals, but Garner's are much stricter, while Wright's are more casual and have a lot of Salter's personal life. I'd say Salter is sort of medium-boiled and McDumont's one tough egg. Both series go all over the city and cover lots of neighbourhoods and their history and culture.

For bookstores, don't miss Jamie Frasier's place at 427A Queen Street West
(above a restaurant called Tortilla Flats), which has lots of paperbacks and some pulps, and The Sleuth of Baker Street at 1600 Bayview Avenue, which is the only mystery bookstore in town. I find I have to rely on special orders and online stores for a lot of new releases, though, including small presses Point Blank and Hard Case.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat lector.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Sep 2004 EDT