As part of The Metropolis Blue Literary Festival, I attended readings by three renowned international crime writers.

The readings were held at Drawn and Quarterly –  a cozy, friendly book store in Mile End.



It was in Mile End that Mordecai Richler set his famous “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz”. Since then, Mile End, one of Canada’s most densely populated artist communities,  has become a thriving hub for not only musicians (Arcade Fire) but many artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers continue to migrate to this area.

Carlo Lucarelli, one of Italy’s best loved crime writers read from his second mystery novel,The Damned Season which features his Commissario de Luca.  His De Luca trilogy, set in Italy at the end of World War II, became extremely successful and he has since published over a dozen novels and collections of stories. 



I never know the ending of my novels. If I did it would be too boring to write.

Part of the magic of writing is to follow the characters and discover them. To dig deeply into the soul of your character.I like to be surprised when I write.

American writer Koethi Zan, read from her debut novel The Never List.



The moment she read these lines I wanted to read her book:

For us there was no such thing as fate. Fate was a word you used when you had not prepared, when you were slack, when you stopped paying attention. Fate was a weak man’s crutch.

When she finished her reading she sat next to me and so I struck up a conversation with her.

This being her first novel, I was curious about how she got published. It turns out that she is married to Stephen Metcalf,  the writer-columnist at Slate who sent Zan’s manuscript to his agent.

I hate connections because I don’t have any. I told her that I was writing a crime novel but it wasn’t half as good as her writing.

 She leaned close to me and said, “Every writer thinks this.”


For a whole year before writing this book I read nothing but crime fiction, in particular the Scandinavian crime writers.

I bought her book and started reading it. Connections or not, you have to know how to write and Koethi Zan sure does. Besides writing well, her book is a real page turner.

The final reader was the Austrian writer, Wolf Haas, known for his crime fiction featuring detective Simon Brenner.



Three volumes of his mystery series have been made into popular German language films. He has been awarded the German thriller prize and the 2004 Literature Prize from the City of Vienna.

You get ideas as you write. You learn a lot about yourself when you write a book.








26 thoughts on “CRIME NIGHT

  1. What a wonderful event this must have been. Thanks for bringing these authors to my attention. As you know, I love crime fiction. In fact, I’m starting a new Nordic thriller today. Can’t wait until lunch so I can dive into it. (I always read on my lunch hour. That way, I’m sure to get at least some in for the day.)


  2. What a great evening. Kudos to you for starting up a conversation with one of the writers. That’s how connection are made along with keeping in touch; something you’re great at! 🙂


    • Thanks, Elke. It was easy for me to start a conversation as she happen to sit right next to me. I might not have spoken to her otherwise.
      It was fate, I guess.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙂


  3. I think that you focused on some important ‘lessons’ learned while you also enjoyed listening to the readings of fine and published authors. The ones you mentioned are very valuable to us all! We need to read others to know how to do a good job on our own genre of writing. To investigate is very important. Also, that we may not want to look ahead to the ending, just let the characters lead us there. Meeting the newly published author is one that to me, would naturally involve a little ‘envy.’ Especially, when she has a connection! My Dad decided to go with Vantage Press, which was a self published book company. He used a ‘pen name’ so that NASA might not find out about his fears of nuclear reactors and also, since his science fiction dreams were just theories. It turned out, most of his books were bought by those fellow scientists! (Not very high numbers!) I think making the rounds and meeting authors is a fine way to spend an evening! I was so sad when our local “Bee Hive Bookstore” closed this year! This was a great and helpful post, Carol!


    • Thanks so much, Robin, for your response. I too like the idea of letting the characters lead us to the ending. And of course, I empathize with your envy.
      But, you’re lucky to have a dad who wrote. He must have inspired you and encouraged you.
      It was a fine evening. I really enjoy these kinds of events. 🙂


  4. Wow Carol, I love how you share your experiences about events you attend and introduce writers to many of us, whom we may not be familiar with. I particularly like “You learn a lot about yourself when you write a book”, very profound. 🙂


    • They have disappeared.This one though has been here for so long and they are associated with The Drawn and Quarterly Publishers of Independent Comics.
      Thanks for stopping by and reading. Much appreciated. 🙂


  5. It sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening! And I love Zan’s reply to your comment about the quality of your writing. Not only is it a true answer, it shows a level of respect for others on her part that is often lacking in our modern world.


    • What you said about respect is so true. She was so sweet and open. I’m almost finished her book. She has a very good grasp on the effects of being kidnapped.
      Thanks for stopping by and reading. I hope your writing is coming along well.
      I’m trying to discipline myself into working on my novel for two hours every morning. This way, I find that I don’t get distracted by e-mails, blogging or other things.


  6. That is such a good idea, Carol. Not only do I like what you have shared about these authors, but you always seem to inspire me somehow. The idea of working on your novel first thing everyday is right on. I haven’t worked on mine at all for some time. Always something else takes priority. But that’s Okay. I still enjoy reviewing other works and enjoy writing my thoughts. Hugs, and have a great long week-end.


  7. “I told her that I was writing a crime novel but it wasn’t half as good as her writing.She leaned close to me and said, ‘Every writer thinks this’.”
    This is reassuring, since we writers (me, anyway) tend to be a notoriously insecure lot. 🙂
    But on the serious side, I’m with jmmcdowells comment that Zan’s response displays a sensitivity and down-to-earthness not always there when one achieves a high level of fame and success.


    • Thanks, Margaret. That’s really generous of you.
      I’m not on Tweeter. At this point I find that I am overwhelmed with social media. It’s hard for me to keep up.
      In any case, I truly appreciate your posting on Tweeter! 🙂


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