Murder – On Salt Spring?

MOSiconMurder Mystery …
My third novel is a murder mystery romance set on my favorite little island. It throws together a laid back island policeman and an aggressive big city detective. Mattie and Cal are amiable one moment, at loggerheads the next. Mattie aggressively hunts for a killer, Cal prefers to let events unfold. Which approach will prevail?

The story shows off island life in the 1950’s with humor, emotion and the suspense you expect from a mystery.

Salt Spring Island …
is a 17 mile long island lying off the south east coast of Vancouver Island (OK, in British Columbia, Canada). At the time of this story (1952) it was accessed by a ferry, the Cy Peck, strange name for a man but colourful for the boat named after him. Most conversations on this somewhat isolated community revolved around island happenings. Events on Vancouver Island were considered foreign affairs. Beyond that existed a dense fog containing a couple of hard spots like Vancouver and Ottawa. Vietnam would remain unknown for nearly twenty years until the island was invaded by free spirits exiting the U.S. draft scene.

The isolation also meant serious crime just didn’t exist. That’s why the question mark in the title. You can read the first two chapters and meet the main characters by visiting my website (Click on Sand Pen at right).

Characters Galore …
The island has always had an abundant supply of colorful characters. As a work of fiction, I can’t use them directly (although in one case I did). However, old timers may recognize similarities between people they knew and characters in the book. I will disavow any claims regarding them. Certainly, the villain is entirely a figment of my imagination.

Then And Now …
Islanders who arrived in the last thirty years may say to themselves the book doesn’t reflect the peaceful, ecology minded life-style of the island. To that I can only say it was different back then. Old-timers will confirm its authenticity unless of course the years have smoothed the rough edges off their memories. We lived a quarter of a mile north of the Fulford Inn and as a boy I made a little money selling back empty beer bottles picked out of the ditch on Saturday mornings. I remember once my Dad badgering my oldest brother to go up the back and get a deer. He finally stomped out and returned half an hour later, then told Dad where it was. He was a good hunter so we never resorted to pit-lamping. Still, we occasionally heard gunshots after dark and knew it was an accepted practice.

One of the main characters in the book is a telephone switchboard operator nicknamed Loose Lips. For people having a hard time visualizing life before dial phones, here is a photo of the island switchboard which existed up until 1964. In fact, the operators did provide many useful services to island residents. They had their fingers on the pulse of the community. However, I’m guilty of bestowing services which took liberties with the real situation. Still, there was a little fact behind the fiction.

Loose Lips

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