Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: The Horsemen

From: Sandra Ruttan (
Date: 08 Mar 2009

  • Next message: foxbrick: "RARA-AVIS: Bill Crider's new short fiction review column in MYSTERY SCENE..."

    On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 11:52 AM, Kevin Burton Smith
    <> wrote:
    > On Mar 8, 2009, at 5:15 AM, wrote:
    > > So, I just watched an episode, and throughout, they mentioned ¨The
    > > Horsemen¨
    > > as in ¨I´m working with the Horsemen and thay want this guy real bad.¨
    > > The Horsemen = The RMCP = The Mounties?
    > Yep, but I've only come across it in Canadian crime fiction. The first
    > time was in Howard Engel's THE SUICIDE MURDERS, I think, back in the
    > eighties.
    > Maybe it's commonly used in the ROC (rest of Canada), but I'd
    > certainly never come across it in Quebec. Then again, Quebec has its
    > own police force, the Surete, so the Mounties don't have as large a
    > presence there. Maybe it's more common out west or east, particularly
    > in smaller towns, where often the only police presence is the RCMP.
    > I think it's one of those expressions that seem to exist mostly in
    > crime fiction and among crime fiction fans. I mean, when was the last
    > time you heard "shamus" in real life?

    Certainly not in the mainstream lingo in my experience growing up in Ontario or living most of my adult life in BC and Alberta, in places where Mounties provide regular policing services, or in my travels anywhere else, from New Brunswick to the Northwest Territories. I agree it seems to be primarily a term used in Canadian crime fiction, and the idea of using the term Horsemen in Vancouver, of all places, is just plain odd, considering that the RCMP does community policing in most of the Lower Mainland.

    Although it also hasn't come up in relation to any of my own research
    (and I researched directly with the RCMP and my ex used to coordinate with them through the fire department and they never used that term either) the reality is that the RCMP *tends* to maintain a very sanitized presence, uses a lot of PC language. Five years ago researching, their websites referred to 'Native' officers, policing, etc. Now, they use the term Aboriginal. When I did an event in the US I kept saying 'Native' and someone asked what I was talking about.
    (Indians.) Whenever I've explained the new term is Aboriginal most people associate it with Australia.

    Considering how I've watched the lingo change just in the past decade, it also wouldn't surprise me if Horsemen was a more common term once upon a time. Just not one in my experience. It wouldn't even occur to me to use it in a book.

    Cheers, Sandra

    THE FRAILTY OF FLESH Nov 08 Dorchester
    LULLABY FOR THE NAMELESS Dec 09 Dorchester

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 Mar 2009 EDT