In an exciting new partnership with the Capital Crime Writers of Ottawa, the Classic Theatre Festival, in conjunction with its mystery thriller Dial M for Murder (running August 8 to 31) is hosting a series of pre-show readings with some of Canada’s top crime and mystery writers.
The Saturday Night Specials, taking place over three consecutive weekends at 7 pm (before the 8 pm performance of Dial M for Murder) will feature a pair of authors reading from their works, an opportunity to ask questions, purchase books, and get them signed, all under the pre-show tent at the Classic Theatre Festival’s venue at 54 Beckwith Street East. Entrance to the readings is free for Festival ticketholders and $10 for non-ticket holders.
“Mystery on the stage, crime writers, and a warm summer evening,” says Michael Murphy of Capital Crime Writers, makes for “a Saturday Night Special to die for.” The Ottawa-based group has been in existence since 1988, when it was founded by Linda Wiken and Audrey Jessup.
Barbara Fradkin and Vicki Delany
The premiere Saturday Night Special on August 16 will be hosted by Barbara Fradkin and Vicki Delany. Fradkin is a retired psychologist and two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award. The prolific author has published numerous short stories and eleven mysteries (two Cedric O’Toole novellas and nine in the gritty, award-winning novel series featuring quixotic Ottawa Police Inspector Michael Green). Two new books are in production, including the tenth Inspector Green novel, None so Blind, due out in October.
Fradkin’s co-host, Vicky Delany, is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. Under Cold Stone is the seventh book in the Smith & Winters police series. She also writes the light-hearted Klondike Gold Rush books and novels of gothic suspense. Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst, Vicki enjoys the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario. According to the London Free Press, “It’s a crime not to read Delany.”
R.J. Harlick and Linda Wiken
On Saturday, August 23, the reading series continues with R.J. Harlick and Linda Wiken. Harlick writes the popular wilderness-based Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of Quebec, which so far has six titles to its name. The 4th, Arctic Blue Death was a finalist for the 2010 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. The latest, Silver Totem of Shame, has been named one of the top ten summer crime fiction reads by The Globe and Mail.
Wiken is a former mystery bookstore owner in Ottawa. Writing as Erika Chase, she has penned four books in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries and is working on the fifth. Book Fair and Foul came out earlier this month. She is also working on the Culinary Capers Mysteries, which will debut next year under her own name. She also maintains a blogsite, Mystery Maven Canada, with news, schmooze and reviews about Canadian mystery writers.
Brenda Chapman and Thomas Curran
The closing set of readings on August 30 will feature Brenda Chapman and Thomas Curran. Chapman began her writing career with the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for young adults. Hiding in Hawk’s Creek, the second in the series, was shortlisted by the Canadian Library Association for the 2006 children’s book of the year. Her first adult mystery In Winter’s Grip was released by Dundurn in 2010. Brenda currently has two series on the go: Cold Mourning is the first in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural (Dundurn 2014) and Butterly Kills will be released in 2015. The Anna Sweet mysteries from Grass Roots Press are novellas set in Ottawa. My Sister’s Keeper, the first in this series, was shortlisted for a 2014 Arthur Ellis award.
Curran is well-known for his three Inspector Stride novels, set in the post-war, pre-Confederation Newfoundland of the late 1940s. Before writing mysteries, Curran spent more than two decades as a Senior Researcher and Writer at the Library of Parliament in Ottawa. A Newfoundlander at heart, the Ottawa writer spends as much time down east as he can manage, both for personal renewal and research purposes.
“We love partnering with such fine talent, because the root of good theatre is good writing: without that, there is not a lot for actors to play and for directors to interpret,” says the Festival’s Artistic Producer, Laurel Smith.
Admission to the readings is connected to purchasing a ticket to the Festival’s evening performance, and priority seating will be provided to Festivalgoers. Those who would like to attend the readings only can pay a $10 cash admission at the door.
To purchase tickets to the evening reading and performance, call 1-877-283-1283 or visit www.classictheatre.ca.